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Cells 2016, 5(3), 29;

Epithelial Intermediate Filaments: Guardians against Microbial Infection?

Institute of Molecular and Cellular Anatomy, RWTH Aachen University, Wendlingweg 2, 52074 Aachen, Germany
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Alexander E. Kalyuzhny
Received: 11 May 2016 / Revised: 15 June 2016 / Accepted: 21 June 2016 / Published: 27 June 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beyond Cell Mechanics: Novel Functions of Intermediate Filaments)
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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. View Full-Text
Keywords: epithelium; keratin; barrier; pathogen; virus; bacterium; parasite; Caenorhabditis elegans epithelium; keratin; barrier; pathogen; virus; bacterium; parasite; Caenorhabditis elegans

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Geisler, F.; Leube, R.E. Epithelial Intermediate Filaments: Guardians against Microbial Infection? Cells 2016, 5, 29.

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