A requirement for cytoplasmic dynein and dynactin in intermediate filament network assembly and organization

Brian T. Helfand, Atsushi Mikami, Richard B. Vallee, Robert D. Goldman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


We present evidence that vimentin intermediate filament (IF) motility in vivo is associated with cytoplasmic dynein. Immunofluorescence reveals that subunits of dynein and dynactin are associated with all structural forms of vimentin in baby hamster kidney-21 cells. This relationship is also supported by the presence of numerous components of dynein and dynactin in IF-enriched cytoskeletal preparations. Overexpression of dynamitin biases IF motility toward the cell surface, leading to a perinuclear clearance of IFs and their redistribution to the cell surface. IF-enriched cytoskeletal preparations from dynamitin-overexpressing cells contain decreased amounts of dynein, actin-related protein-1, and p150Glued relative to controls. In contrast, the amount of dynamitin is unaltered in these preparations, indicating that it is involved in linking vimentin cargo to dynactin. The results demonstrate that dynein and dynactin are required for the normal organization of vimentin IF networks in vivo. These results together with those of previous studies also suggest that a balance among the microtubule (MT) minus and plus end-directed motors, cytoplasmic dynein, and kinesin are required for the assembly and maintenance of type III IF networks in interphase cells. Furthermore, these motors are to a large extent responsible for the long recognized relationships between vimentin IFs and MTs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)795-806
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 27 2002


  • Cytoskeleton
  • Dynactin
  • Dynein
  • Intermediate filaments
  • Vimentin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'A requirement for cytoplasmic dynein and dynactin in intermediate filament network assembly and organization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this