Vimentin is one of the intermediate filaments that functions in structural support, signal transduction and organelle positioning of a cell. In the present study, we report the contribution of vimentin in mitochondrial morphology and organization. Using subcellular fractionation, immunoprecipitation and fluorescence microscopy analyses, we found that vimentin was associated with mitochondria. Knockdown of vimentin resulted in mitochondrial fragmentation, swelling and disorganization. We further demonstrated that the vimentin cytoskeleton co-localized and interacted with mitochondria to a greater extent than other cytoskeletal components known to support mitochondria. Our results also suggest that vimentin could participate in the mitochondrial association of microtubules. As mitochondrial morphologies determine mitochondrial function, our findings revealed a potentially important relationship between the vimentin-based intermediate filaments and the regulation of mitochondria.

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