Intermediate filament proteins participate in signal transduction

Brian T. Helfand, Ying Hao Chou, Dale K. Shumaker, Robert D. Goldman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

52 Scopus citations


How timely transport of chemical signals between the distal end of long axonal processes and the cell bodies of neurons occurs is an interesting and unresolved issue. Recently, Perlson et al. presented evidence that cleavage products of newly synthesized vimentin, an intermediate filament (IF) protein, interact with mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases at sites of axon injury. These IF fragments appear to be required for the transport of these kinases to the cell body along microtubule tracks. The truncated vimentin is instrumental in signal propagation as it provides a scaffold that brings together activated MAP kinases (such as Erk 1 and Erk2), as well as importin β and cytoplasmic dynein. The authors propose that this all-in-one transport complex has the extraordinary ability to travel towards the cell body and enter the nucleus where the kinases activate and influence gene expression so that a neuron can generate a timely response to injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)568-570
Number of pages3
JournalTrends in Cell Biology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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