Abstract: The cytoplasmic intermediate filament cytoskeleton provides a tissue-specific three-dimensional scaffolding with unique context-dependent organizational features. This is particularly apparent in the intestinal epithelium, in which the intermediate filament network is localized below the apical terminal web region and is anchored to the apical junction complex. This arrangement is conserved from the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to humans. The review summarizes compositional, morphological and functional features of the polarized intermediate filament cytoskeleton in intestinal cells of nematodes and mammals. We emphasize the cross talk of intermediate filaments with the actin- and tubulin-based cytoskeleton. Possible links of the intermediate filament system to the distribution of apical membrane proteins and the cell polarity complex are highlighted. Finally, we discuss how these properties relate to the establishment and maintenance of polarity in the intestine.
Abstract: Progeroid laminopathies, including Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS, OMIM #176670), are premature and accelerated aging diseases caused by defects in nuclear A-type Lamins. Most HGPS patients carry a de novo point mutation within exon 11 of the LMNA gene encoding A-type Lamins. This mutation activates a cryptic splice site leading to the deletion of 50 amino acids at its carboxy-terminal domain, resulting in a truncated and permanently farnesylated Prelamin A called Prelamin A Δ50 or Progerin. Some patients carry other LMNA mutations affecting exon 11 splicing and are named “HGPS-like” patients. They also produce Progerin and/or other truncated Prelamin A isoforms (Δ35 and Δ90) at the transcriptional and/or protein level. The results we present show that morpholino antisense oligonucleotides (AON) prevent pathogenic LMNA splicing, markedly reducing the accumulation of Progerin and/or other truncated Prelamin A isoforms (Prelamin A Δ35, Prelamin A Δ90) in HGPS-like patients’ cells. Finally, a patient affected with Mandibuloacral Dysplasia type B (MAD-B, carrying a homozygous mutation in ZMPSTE24, encoding an enzyme involved in Prelamin A maturation, leading to accumulation of wild type farnesylated Prelamin A), was also included in this study. These results provide preclinical proof of principle for the use of a personalized antisense approach in HGPS-like and MAD-B patients, who may therefore be eligible for inclusion in a therapeutic trial based on this approach, together with classical HGPS patients.
Abstract: Intermediate filaments together with actin filaments and microtubules form the cytoskeleton, which is a complex and highly dynamic 3D network. Intermediate filaments are the major mechanical stress protectors but also affect cell growth, differentiation, signal transduction, and migration. Using intermediate filament-mitochondrial crosstalk as a prominent example, this review emphasizes the importance of intermediate filaments as crucial organizers of cytoplasmic space to support these functions. We summarize observations in different mammalian cell types which demonstrate how intermediate filaments influence mitochondrial morphology, subcellular localization, and function through direct and indirect interactions and how perturbations of these interactions may lead to human diseases.
Abstract: Intermediate filaments are abundant cytoskeletal components of epithelial tissues. They have been implicated in overall stress protection. A hitherto poorly investigated area of research is the function of intermediate filaments as a barrier to microbial infection. This review summarizes the accumulating knowledge about this interaction. It first emphasizes the unique spatial organization of the keratin intermediate filament cytoskeleton in different epithelial tissues to protect the organism against microbial insults. We then present examples of direct interaction between viral, bacterial, and parasitic proteins and the intermediate filament system and describe how this affects the microbe-host interaction by modulating the epithelial cytoskeleton, the progression of infection, and host response. These observations not only provide novel insights into the dynamics and function of intermediate filaments but also indicate future avenues to combat microbial infection.
Abstract: Cells are constantly adjusting to the mechanical properties of their surroundings, operating a complex mechanochemical feedback, which hinges on mechanotransduction mechanisms. Whereas adhesion structures have been shown to play a central role in mechanotransduction, it now emerges that the nucleus may act as a mechanosensitive structure. Here, we review recent advances demonstrating that mechanical stress emanating from the cytoskeleton can activate pathways in the nucleus which eventually impact both its structure and the transcriptional machinery.
Abstract: RhoBTB proteins constitute a subfamily of atypical Rho GTPases represented in mammals by RhoBTB1, RhoBTB2, and RhoBTB3. Their characteristic feature is a carboxyl terminal extension that harbors two BTB domains capable of assembling cullin 3-dependent ubiquitin ligase complexes. The expression of all three RHOBTB genes has been found reduced or abolished in a variety of tumors. They are considered tumor suppressor genes and recent studies have strengthened their implication in tumorigenesis through regulation of the cell cycle and apoptosis. RhoBTB3 is also involved in retrograde transport from endosomes to the Golgi apparatus. One aspect that makes RhoBTB proteins atypical among the Rho GTPases is their proposed mechanism of activation. No specific guanine nucleotide exchange factors or GTPase activating proteins are known. Instead, RhoBTB might be activated through interaction with other proteins that relieve their auto-inhibited conformation and inactivated through auto-ubiquitination and destruction in the proteasome. In this review we discuss our current knowledge on the molecular mechanisms of action of RhoBTB proteins and the implications for tumorigenesis and other pathologic conditions.