Intermediate filament associated proteins (IFAPs) coordinate interactions between intermediate filaments (IFs) and other cytoskeletal elements and organelles, including membrane-associated junctions such as desmosomes and hemidesmosomes in epithelial cells, costameres in striated muscle, and intercalated discs in cardiac muscle. IFAPs thus serve as critical connecting links in the IF scaffolding that organizes the cytoplasm and confers mechanical stability to cells and tissues. However, in recent years it has become apparent that IFAPs are not limited to structural crosslinkers and bundlers but also include chaperones, enzymes, adapters, and receptors. IF networks can therefore be considered scaffolding upon which associated proteins are organized and regulated to control metabolic activities and maintain cell homeostasis.
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