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The cytoskeletal protein vimentin plays a key role in positioning of organelles within the cytosol and has been linked to the regulation of numerous cellular processes including autophagy, however, how vimentin regulates autophagy remains relatively unexplored. Here we report that inhibition of vimentin using the steroidal lactone Withaferin A (WFA) causes vimentin to aggregate, and this is associated with the relocalisation of organelles including autophagosomes and lysosomes from the cytosol to a juxtanuclear location. Vimentin inhibition causes autophagosomes to accumulate, and we demonstrate this results from modulation of mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTORC1) activity, and disruption of autophagosome-lysosome fusion. We suggest that vimentin plays a physiological role in autophagosome and lysosome positioning, thus identifying vimentin as a key factor in the regulation of mTORC1 and autophagy.

Original publication




Journal article


PloS one

Publication Date





School of Applied Sciences, Edinburgh Napier University, Sighthill Campus, Sighthill Court, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.


Cell Line, Tumor, Cytoskeleton, Intermediate Filaments, Organelles, Lysosomes, Cytosol, Humans, Vimentin, Signal Transduction, Membrane Fusion, Autophagy, Withanolides, HEK293 Cells, Autophagosomes, Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1