A direct interaction between actin and vimentin filaments mediated by the tail domain of vimentin

Osigwe Esue, Ashley A. Carson, Yiider Tseng, Denis Wirtz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


The assembly and organization of the three major eukaryotic cytoskeleton proteins, actin, microtubules, and intermediate filaments, are highly interdependent. Through evolution, cells have developed specialized multifunctional proteins that mediate the cross-linking of these cytoskeleton filament networks. Here we test the hypothesis that two of these filamentous proteins, F-actin and vimentin filament, can interact directly, i.e. in the absence of auxiliary proteins. Through quantitative rheological studies, we find that a mixture of vimentin/actin filament network features a significantly higher stiffness than that of networks containing only actin filaments or only vimentin filaments. Maximum inter-filament interaction occurs at a vimentin/ actin molar ratio of 3 to 1. Mixed networks of actin and tailless vimentin filaments show low mechanical stiffness and much weaker inter-filament interactions. Together with the fact that cells featuring prominent vimentin and actin networks are much stiffer than their counterparts lacking an organized actin or vimentin network, these results suggest that actin and vimentin filaments can interact directly through the tail domain of vimentin and that these inter-filament interactions may contribute to the overall mechanical integrity of cells and mediate cytoskeletal cross-talk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30393-30399
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number41
StatePublished - Oct 13 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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