Vimentin impacts centrosome function and microtubule acetylation

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Cell polarity is important for controlling cell shape, motility, and cell division processes. Vimentin intermediate filaments are necessary for proper polarization of migrating fibroblasts and assembly of vimentin and microtubule networks is dynamically coordinated, but the precise details of how vimentin mediates cell polarity remain unclear. Here, we characterize the effects of vimentin on the structure and microtubule-nucleating activity of the cell centrosome and the dynamics of the microtubule network in wild-type and vimentin-null mouse embryonic fibroblasts (mEF’s). We find that vimentin mediates the structure of the pericentrosomal material, promotes centrosomemediated microtubule regrowth, and increases the level of stable acetylated microtubules in the cell. Our results suggest that vimentin modulates centrosome structure and function as well as microtubule network stability, which has important implications for how cells establish proper cell polarization and persistent migration.

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  1. Abstract

    Re: figure 4 and the associated claim, is acetylated alpha-tubulin normalized by the total alpha tubulin intensity less? Or is it proportional to reduced microtubes generally in vim-/- MEFs? Given PCM defects and impaired re-assembly of mictotubules after nocodazole treatment, basal turnover and the total mictotubule network may also be affected in vim-/- MEFs, but if I’m not mistaken, that’s never quantified here. Depending on the normalized outcome, the reduced acetylation rates may be independently reliant upon vimentin or be a consequence of globally reduced microtubules.