Intermediate Filaments and the Regulation of Cell Motility during Regeneration and Wound Healing

Fang Cheng, John Eriksson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


Intermediate filaments (IFs) comprise a diverse group of flexible cytoskeletal structures, the assembly, dynamics, and functions of which are regulated by posttranslational modifications. Characteristically, the expression of IF proteins is specific for tissues, differentiation stages, cell types, and functional contexts. Recent research has rapidly expanded the knowledge of IF protein functions. From being regarded as primarily structural proteins, it is now well established that IFs act as powerful modulators of cell motility and migration, playing crucial roles in wound healing and tissue regeneration, as well as inflammatory and immune responses. Although many of these IF-associated functions are essential for tissue repair, the involvement of IF proteins has been established in many additional facets of tissue healing and regeneration. Here, we review the recent progress in understanding the multiple functions of cytoplasmic IFs that relate to cell motility in the context of wound healing, taking examples from studies on keratin, vimentin, and nestin. Wound healing and regeneration include orchestration of a broad range of cellular processes, including regulation of cell attachment and migration, proliferation, differentiation, immune responses, angiogenesis, and remodeling of the extracellular matrix. In this respect, IF proteins now emerge as multifactorial and tissue-specific integrators of tissue regeneration, thereby acting as essential guardian biopolymers at the interface between health and disease, the failing of which contributes to a diverse range of pathologies.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)
Number of pages14
JournalCold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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