Filaments 8–11 nm in diameter (intermediate filaments) were established as a separate class of major fibrous cellular structures only relatively recently. Recognized 15 years ago as unique filaments different from F-actin in muscle cells (Ishikawa et al. 1968, Kelly et al. 1968, Rash et al. 1970; but see also Henson-Stiennon 1965), they were soon discovered to be a prominent component of many other cell types, both fibroblastic and epithehal (GGoldman and Follet 1969, Ishikawa et al. 1969). In addition, filaments of approximately 10 nm diameter were long known to be present in nerve cells e.g., Bunge et al. 1961), glial cells (e.g., Gray 1959), and epidermal cehs (e.g., Weiss and Ferris 1954, Body 1960), but they were not yet thought of as different members of one family of filaments. Some of the earlier literature was also clouded by confusion over the issue whether these filaments might be breakdown products and/or a different supramolecular form 01 other cytoplasmic components, such as microtubules (e.g., Wisniewski et al. 1968,Ishikawa et al. 1968, Daniels 1973, de Brabander et al. 1975). This issue was laid to rest in the midseventies when the intermediate filament proteins were firmly established as a distinct group. Since then, increasing interest in the nature, distribution, molecular composition, and function of these filaments has led to the rapid accumulation of a staggering amount of information.
KeywordsGlial Fibrillary Acidic Protein Intermediate Filament Intermediate Filament Protein Baby Hamster Kidney Intermediate fIlaments
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