Microtubule-dependent transport and dynamics of vimentin intermediate filaments

Caroline Hookway, Liya Ding, Michael W. Davidson, Joshua Z. Rappoport, Gaudenz Danuser, Vladimir I. Gelfand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


We studied two aspects of vimentin intermediate filament dynamics - transport of filaments and subunit exchange. We observed transport of long filaments in the periphery of cells using live-cell structured illumination microscopy. We studied filament transport elsewhere in cells using a photoconvertible-vimentin probe and total internal reflection microscopy. We found that filaments were rapidly transported along linear tracks in both anterograde and retrograde directions. Filament transport was microtubule dependent but independent of microtubule polymerization and/or an interaction with the plus end-binding protein APC. We also studied subunit exchange in filaments by long-term imaging after photoconversion. We found that converted vimentin remained in small clusters along the length of filaments rather than redistributing uniformly throughout the network, even in cells that divided after photoconversion. These data show that vimentin filaments do not depolymerize into individual subunits; they recompose by severing and reannealing. Together these results show that vimentin filaments are very dynamic and that their transport is required for network maintenance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1675-1686
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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