Analysis of the desmoplakin gene reveals striking conservation with other members of the plakin family of cytolinkers

Kathleen J. Green*, S. G. Guy, P. B. Cserhalmi-Friedman, W. H I McLean, A. M. Christiano, R. M. Wagner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Members of the plakin family of cytolinker proteins integrate filaments into cellular networks and anchor these networks to the plasma membrane. Their importance is supported by the existence of cell and tissue fragility disorders caused by mutations in certain family members. In this study, the human gene encoding desmoplakin (DSP) was characterized and its structure compared with the related family members: plectin, bullous pemphigoid antigen 1 (BPAG1), envoplakin (EVPL) and periplakin (PPL). Sequence analysis of genomic clones was carried out in combination with a PCR-based strategy to define intron-exon borders. DSP was mapped using the GB4 radiation hybrid mapping panel to the interval between markers D6S296 and AFM043Xf2, corresponding to cytogenetic band 6p24. In addition, the murine gene (Dsp) was mapped to mouse chromosome 13 by interspecific backcross mapping. DSP encompasses ~45 kb organized into 24 exons and 23 introns, and the pattern of intron-exon borders bears a striking resemblance to other members of the plakin family. Notable features include the fact that a single large exon encodes the entire C-terminus of each gene. In contrast, the N-termini comprise numerous smaller exons with conservation of many intron-exon borders. Detailed characterization and mapping of these genes will facilitate their further evaluation as targets of genetic disorders and provide insights into the evolutionary relationships among molecules in this emerging gene family.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)462-470
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Dermatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1999


  • Bullous pemphigoid antigen 1
  • Desmoplakin
  • Envoplakin
  • Periplakin
  • Plectin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology


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