Desmosome assembly and dynamics

Oxana Nekrasova, Kathleen J. Green*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Desmosomes are intercellular junctions that anchor intermediate filaments (IFs) to the plasma membrane, forming a supracellular scaffold that provides mechanical resilience to tissues. This anchoring function is accomplished by specialized members of the cadherin family and associated cytoskeletal linking proteins, which together form a highly organized membrane core flanked by mirror-image cytoplasmic plaques. Due to the biochemical insolubility of desmosomes, the mechanisms that govern assembly of these components into a functional organelle remained elusive. Recently developed molecular reporters and live cell imaging approaches have provided powerful new tools to monitor this finely tuned process in real time. Here we discuss studies that are beginning to decipher the machinery and regulation governing desmosome assembly and homeostasis in situ and how these mechanisms are affected during disease pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)537-546
Number of pages10
JournalTrends in Cell Biology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • Armadillo proteins
  • Cell junctions
  • Desmoplakin
  • Desmosomal cadherins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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