Intermediate Filaments

The 12th biennial Gordon Conference on Intermediate Filaments (IF) will focus on exciting topics of interest to cell biologists, researchers engaged in biomedical research, physicists and engineers in this rapidly growing field of research. Emphasis will be placed on the structure and function of the large number of proteins that polymerize into dynamic cytoskeletal and nucleoskeletal networks. IF proteins are encoded by one of the largest families of genes in the human genome giving rise to over 70 proteins. These genes are expressed in a developmentally regulated fashion resulting in a remarkable array of both cytoskeletal and nucleoskeletal networks. Together with their binding partners, cytoskeletal IF including the epithelial cell keratins, the mesenchymal cell IF proteins such as vimentin, desmin and GFAP as well as the different types of neural IF, are rapidly becoming recognized as essential elements in the differentiation of cells and tissues. These IF cytoskeletal systems are major factors in the development and maintenance of cell shape; they are also determinants of the mechanical integrity of cells due to their unusual strain stiffening properties. Recent studies have revealed a remarkable array of additional functions for cytoskeletal IF including mechano- and chemo- sensing, regulation of major signal transduction pathways, cell migration, the positioning and anchorage of organelles such as mitochondria, the epithelial/ mesenchymal transition, and cell/cell and cell/substrate adhesion. IF also act as central elements in the crosstalk among the different cytoskeletal systems including microtubules and actin. Within the nucleus, the IF proteins known as the nuclear lamins are the major structural components of the nuclear lamina/envelope and they play essential roles in the shape, size and mechanical properties of the nucleus. More recently the lamins have been recognized as central determinants of the molecular architecture of the interphase nucleus, the organization of chromosomes, the positioning and expression of genes, DNA replication and the disassembly and reassembly of the nucleus during cell division. The remarkable discoveries of hundreds of mutations in IF genes giving rise to a plethora of human diseases have attracted the attention of broad audiences of basic scientists and physicians. Theetiology and manifestations of these diseases are wide-ranging, including premature aging diseases such as progeria, cardiomyopathies, neurodegenerative disorders, numerous forms of muscular dystrophy, as well as blistering diseases of the epidermis, amongst many others. In other diseases abnormal aggregates of IF are now being recognized as factors in motor neuron diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and giant axonal neuropathy.

This Gordon Research Conference is the world’s largest forum for fostering interactions among IF and other interested researchers. The Conference provides an unprecedented opportunity to learn about the latest cutting edge developments in the functions of IF. This GRC has always fostered a free exchange of ideas, tools and reagents, and has facilitated the establishment of many productive interdisciplinary collaborations. The attendance of young scientists is strongly encouraged. In support of this the GRC Board of Trustees has provided resources to inaugurate the first IF Gordon Research Seminar which will precede the Conference and will be organized by graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. All applicants are invited to present posters describing their latest research and a number of platform presentations will be chosen from the submitted abstracts in order to ensure inclusion of the latest breakthroughs during the formal sessions. Significant time for discussion will be scheduled into the sessions to promote the lively exchange of ideas and to consider alternate interpretations of data presented. The schedule will also allow ample free time in the afternoons and after the last evening session to foster the informal interactions that have been the hallmark of the IF Gordon Conferences

+ show speakers and program
The Nuclear Lamins, Chromatin and Nuclear Architecture
(Yossi Gruenbaum / Colin Stewart / Maria Eriksson / Jan Lammerding)
IFs of the Nervous System: Function and Aggregation in Neurodegenerative Diseases
(Elly Hol / Mala Rao / Harish Pant / Ron Liem / Janice Robertson / Jean-Pierre Julien / Albee Messing / Milos Pekny)
Regulation of Cytoskeletal IF Assembly
(Masaki Inagaki / Harald Herrmann / Rudolf Leube / Cecilia Sahlgren / Nam-on Ku)
Cytoskeletal IF Structure and Mechanical Properties
(Ueli Aebi / Peter Burkhard / Paul Janmey / Sarah Köster / Laurent Kreplak / Sergei Strelkov / David Weitz)
The Dynamic Properties of Cytoskeletal IF Systems
(John Eriksson / Gaudenz Danuser / Sandrine Etienne-Manneville / Volodya Gelfand / Omar Skalli)
The Nuclear Lamins in Development and Disease
(Gisele Bonne / Kan Cao / Steve Adam / Chris Hutchison / Howard Worman / Yixian Zheng)
Cytoskeletal IF in Healthy and Diseased Cells
(Yassemi Capetanaki / Gloria Conover / Brigit Lane / Thomas Magin / Natasha Snider)
IF Associated Proteins and Cytoskeletal Crosstalk
(Roy Quinlan / Joel Eyer / Jonathan Jones / Alexander Minin / Roland Foisner / Karen Ridge / Gerhard Wiche / Georg Weitzer)
Functions of Epithelial Keratins
(Diana Toivola / Milind Vaidya / Pavel Strnad / Pierre Coulombe)

17 Jun - 22 Jun 2012
United States of America
meeting website