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Journal Article

Binding of nucleic acids to intermediate filaments of the vimentin type and their effects on filament formation and stability

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Shoeman,  Robert L.
Department of Biomolecular Mechanisms, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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Schröder,  Rasmus R.
Department of Biomolecular Mechanisms, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;
Emeritus Group Biophysics, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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Scherbarth,  Annemarie
Department of Biomedical Optics, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Traub, P., Mothes, E., Shoeman, R. L., Schröder, R. R., & Scherbarth, A. (1992). Binding of nucleic acids to intermediate filaments of the vimentin type and their effects on filament formation and stability. Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics, 10(3), 505-531. doi:10.1080/07391102.1992.10508665.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0019-AB0C-D
Abstract
Guanine-rich polynucleotides such as poly(dG), oligo(dG)12-18 or poly(rG) were shown to exert a strong inhibitory effect on vimentin filament assembly and also to cause disintegration of preformed filaments in vitro. Gold-labeled oligo(dG)25 was preferentially localized at the physical ends of the aggregation and disaggregation products and at sites along filaments with a basic periodicity of 22.7 nm. Similar effects were observed with heat-denatured eukaryotic nuclear DNA or total rRNA, although these nucleic acids could affect filament formation and structure only at ionic strengths lower than physiological. However, whenever filaments were formed or stayed intact, they appeared associated with the nucleic acids. These electron microscopic observations were corroborated by sucrose gradient analysis of complexes obtained from preformed vimentin filaments and radioactively labeled heteroduplexes. Among the duplexes of the DNA type, particularly poly(dG).poly(dC), and, of those of the RNA type, preferentially poly(rA).poly(rU), were carried by the filaments with high efficiency into the pellet fraction. Single-stranded 18S and 28S rRNA interacted only weakly with vimentin filaments. Nevertheless, in a mechanically undisturbed environment, vimentin filaments could be densely decorated with intact 40S and 60S ribosomal subunits as revealed by electron microscopy. These results indicate that, in contrast to single-stranded nucleic acids with their compact random coil configuration, double-stranded nucleic acids with their elongated and flexible shape have the capability to stably interact with the helically arranged, surface-exposed amino-terminal polypeptide chains of vimentin filaments. Such interactions might be of physiological relevance in regard to the transport and positioning of nucleic acids and nucleoprotein particles in the various compartments of eukaryotic cells. Conversely, nucleic acids might be capable of affecting the cytoplasmic organization of vimentin filament networks through their filament-destabilizing potentials.