Phosphorylation and disassembly of intermediate filaments in mitotic cells

Y. H. Chou, E. Rosevear, R. D. Goldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Scopus citations


As baby hamster kidney (BHK-21) cells enter mitosis, networks of intermediate filaments (IFs) are transformed into cytoplasmic aggregates of protofilaments. Coincident with this morphological change, the phosphate content of vimentin increases from 0.3 mol of P(i) per mol of protein in interphase to 1.9 mol of P(i) per mol of protein in mitosis. A similar increase in phosphate content is observed with desmin, from 0.5 mol of P(i) per mol of protein to 1.5 mol of P(i) per mol of protein. Fractionation of mitotic cell lysates by hydroxylapatite column chromatography reveals the presence of two IF protein kinase activities, designated as IF protein kinase I and IF protein kinase II. Comparison of two-dimensional 32P-labeled phosphopeptide maps of vimentin and desmin phosphorylated in vivo in mitosis, and in vitro using partially purified kinase fractions, reveals extensive similarity in the two sets of phosphorylation sites. Phosphorylation of in vitro polymerized IFs by IF protein kinase II induces complete disassembly as determined by negative-stain electron microscopy. The results support the idea that the disassembly of IFs in mitosis is regulated by the phosphorylation of its subunit proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1885-1889
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Phosphorylation and disassembly of intermediate filaments in mitotic cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this