What is it about?

This article describes the discovery of a new role for a protein called vimentin in regulating cell size and the recycling process within cells, called autophagy. Vimentin is a part of the cytoskeleton of the cell and plays a crucial role in wound healing and cancer progression. The research shows that vimentin helps control cell size by working with another important cellular process called mTORC1 signaling. This signaling pathway is responsible for managing a cell's growth and size. Researchers found that vimentin helps activate the mTORC1 pathway, which in turn controls autophagy, a process that breaks down and recycles cell components. Autophagy is essential for cells to maintain their health and function. However, when cells are under stress, like during wound healing or cancer progression, vimentin can help cells grow and survive by inhibiting autophagy. This is beneficial because cells need nutrients and growth factors to grow and multiply during these critical situations. The discovery of vimentin's role in regulating cell size and autophagy could have significant implications for understanding how cells respond to stress and injury. It also sheds light on the relationship between cell size, signaling and how cells sense shape, structure, and size.. In summary, vimentin is a key player in controlling cell size and recycling processes within cells, which is important in wound healing, regeneration, and cancer progression. Understanding the roles of this protein could reveal mechanisms to be used to enable treatments and therapies for chronic wounds and cancers.

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Why is it important?

This article is important because it uncovers a previously unknown role of the protein vimentin in regulating cell size and autophagy, the recycling process within cells. By revealing how vimentin interacts with the mTORC1 signaling pathway to control cell growth and autophagy, the study contributes to our understanding of several key cellular processes that respond to stress, injury, and disease. The discovery of vimentin's functions in cell size regulation and autophagy has significant implications for various medical applications, including wound healing and cancer progression. For instance, it could help develop better treatment strategies and therapies for these conditions by targeting the vimentin-mTORC1 pathway.


This finding has opened unforeseen perspectives for our research team to explore how cytoskeletal functions such as migration, environment sensing, and cell directionality may, surprisingly, be linked to metabolic and cell size signaling.

John Eriksson
Abo Akademi

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This page is a summary of: Cytoskeletal vimentin regulates cell size and autophagy through mTORC1 signaling, PLoS Biology, September 2022, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3001737.
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