We report here on the in vivo assembly of alpha-internexin, a type IV neuronal intermediate filament protein, in transfected cultured cells, comparing its assembly properties with those of the neurofilament triplet proteins (NF-L, NF-M, and NF-H). Like the neurofilament triplet proteins, alpha-internexin coassembles with vimentin into filaments. To study the assembly characteristics of these proteins in the absence of a preexisting filament network, transient transfection experiments were performed with a non-neuronal cell line lacking cytoplasmic intermediate filaments. The results showed that only alpha-internexin was able to self-assemble into extensive filamentous networks. In contrast, the neurofilament triplet proteins were incapable of homopolymeric assembly into filamentous arrays in vivo. NF-L coassembled with either NF-M or NF-H into filamentous structures in the transfected cells, but NF-M could not form filaments with NF-H. alpha-internexin could coassemble with each of the neurofilament triplet proteins in the transfected cells to form filaments. When all but 2 and 10 amino acid residues were removed from the tail domains of NF-L and NF-M, respectively, the resulting NF-L and NF-M deletion mutants retained the ability to coassemble with alpha-internexin into filamentous networks. These mutants were also capable of forming filaments with other wild-type neurofilament triplet protein subunits. These results suggest that the tail domains of NF-L and NF-M are dispensable for normal coassembly of each of these proteins with other type IV intermediate filament proteins to form filaments.
Assembly of type IV neuronal intermediate filaments in nonneuronal cells in the absence of preexisting cytoplasmic intermediate filaments
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GY Ching, RK Liem; Assembly of type IV neuronal intermediate filaments in nonneuronal cells in the absence of preexisting cytoplasmic intermediate filaments. J Cell Biol 15 September 1993; 122 (6): 1323–1335. doi: https://doi.org/10.1083/jcb.122.6.1323
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