A work recently published in Nature Communications by the group of Posttranslational Modification of Proteins, led by Dr. Dolores Peréz-Sala at Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas (CSIC), has unveiled the role of the intermediate filament protein vimentin as an important component and modulator of the cell cortex in mitosis in several cell types.
The cytoskeleton provides architectural support for cells in a dynamic fashion that allows the drastic reorganizations underlying cell migration or cell division. During cell division, adherent cells round up acquiring a nearly spherical shape. At this critical point, the structural stability depends on the cell cortex, known to comprise mainly actin and myosin proteins, which form a dynamic lattice that equilibrates inward and outward forces, preserves cell integrity and allows correct mitotic spindle position and chromosome segregation.
The work by Duarte el al., now shows that vimentin filaments closely intertwine with the actin cortex in mitosis and modulate its properties. Moreover, alterations in vimentin structure, elicited in disease-mimicking conditions, lead to mitotic defects that can range from asymmetric divisions and chromosome missegregation to cell death.
These findings open new perspectives for studies on cell proliferation.
This work has been funded by MSCA H2020 (Grant 675132, Masstrplan) and AEI/FEDER (SAF2015-68590-R and RTI2018-097624-B-I00).
Reference: Vimentin filaments interact with the actin cortex in mitosis allowing normal cell division. Sofia Duarte, Álvaro Viedma-Poyatos, Elena Navarro-Carrasco, Alma E. Martínez, María A. Pajares, Dolores Pérez-Sala* Nat Commun. (2019) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-12029-4