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Background: This gene encodes a member of the intermediate filament family. Intermediate filamentents, along with microtubules and actin microfilaments, make up the cytoskeleton. The protein encoded by this gene is responsible for maintaining cell shape, integrity of the cytoplasm, and stabilizing cytoskeletal interactions. It is also involved in the immune response, and controls the transport of low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-derived cholesterol from a lysosome to the site of esterification. It functions as an organizer of a number of critical proteins involved in attachment, migration, and cell signaling. Mutations in this gene causes a dominant, pulverulent cataract.