History and phylogeny of intermediate filaments: Now in insects
1 Group Functional Architecture of the Cell (B065) German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) Im Neuenheimer Feld 280 D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany
2 Faculteit Farmaceutische Wetenschappen Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Herestraat 49 Bus 822 B-3000 Leuven, Belgium
BMC Biology 2011, 9:16 doi:10.1186/1741-7007-9-16Published: 28 February 2011
Intermediate filaments include the nuclear lamins, which are universal in metazoans, and the cytoplasmic intermediate filaments, which are much more varied and form cell type-specific networks in animal cells. Until now, it has been thought that insects harbor lamins only. This view is fundamentally challenged by the discovery, reported in BMC Biology, of an intermediate filament-like cytoplasmic protein, isomin, in the hexapod Isotomurus maculatus. Here we briefly review the history of research on intermediate filaments, and discuss the implications of this latest finding in the context of what is known of their structure and functions.