Desmosomes and Hemidesmosomes

V. Todorović*, K. R. Kligys, R. L. Dusek, J. C.R. Jones, Kathleen Janee Green

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Desmosomes and hemidesmosomes are adhesive junctions important for maintaining adherence within epithelial tissues - a function reflected in the Greek root desmo, meaning bound. Desmosomes facilitate adhesion between adjacent epithelial cells, whereas hemidesmosomes, named for their ultrastructural resemblance to half a desmosome, mediate adhesion between basal cells of epithelial tissues and the substratum. These junctions are functionally alike in their ability to couple the intermediate filament cytoskeleton to sites of cell-cell or cell-substratum contact at the plasma membrane. However, these organelles differ dramatically in their molecular composition and specialized functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Biological Chemistry
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9780123786319
ISBN (Print)9780123786302
StatePublished - Feb 15 2013


  • Basement membrane
  • Collagens
  • Desmosomal cadherins
  • Desmosomes
  • Hemidesmosomes
  • Integrins
  • Intermediate filaments
  • Laminin-332
  • Plakins
  • Plakoglobin
  • Plakophilins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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