Desmosomes are cell-cell adhesive organelles with a well-known role in forming strong intercellular adhesion during embryogenesis and in adult tissues subject to mechanical stress, such as the heart and skin. More recently, desmosome components have also emerged as cell signaling regulators. Loss of expression or interference with the function of desmosome molecules results in diseases of the heart and skin and contributes to cancer progression. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms that result in inherited and acquired disorders remain poorly understood. To address this question, researchers are directing their studies towards determining the functions that occur inside and outside of the junctions and the extent to which functions are adhesion-dependent or independent. This review focuses on recent discoveries that provide insights into the role of desmosomes and desmosome components in cell signaling and disease; wherever possible, we address molecular functions within and outside of the adhesive structure.
- Desmosomal cadherins
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Cell Biology