Desmosomal cadherins utilize distinct kinesins for assembly into desmosomes

Oxana E. Nekrasova, Evangeline V. Amargo, William O. Smith, Jing Chen, Geri E. Kreitzer, Kathleen J. Green*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


The desmosomal cadherins, desmogleins (Dsgs) and desmocollins (Dscs), comprise the adhesive core of intercellular junctions known as desmosomes. Although these adhesion molecules are known to be critical for tissue integrity, mechanisms that coordinate their trafficking into intercellular junctions to regulate their proper ratio and distribution are unknown. We demonstrate that Dsg2 and Dsc2 both exhibit microtubule-dependent transport in epithelial cells but use distinct motors to traffic to the plasma membrane. Functional interference with kinesin-1 blocked Dsg2 transport, resulting in the assembly of Dsg2-deficient junctions with minimal impact on distribution of Dsc2 or desmosomal plaque components. In contrast, inhibiting kinesin-2 prevented Dsc2 movement and decreased its plasma membrane accumulation without affecting Dsg2 trafficking. Either kinesin-1 or -2 deficiency weakened intercellular adhesion, despite the maintenance of adherens junctions and other desmosome components at the plasma membrane. Differential regulation of desmosomal cadherin transport could provide a mechanism to tailor adhesion strength during tissue morphogenesis and remodeling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1185-1203
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Dec 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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