Desmosomes are intercellular junctions that mediate cell–cell adhesion and anchor the intermediate filament network to the plasma membrane, providing mechanical resilience to tissues such as the epidermis and heart. In addition to their critical roles in adhesion, desmosomal proteins are emerging as mediators of cell signaling important for proper cell and tissue functions. In this review we highlight what is known about desmosomal proteins regulating adhesion and signaling in healthy skin—in morphogenesis, differentiation and homeostasis, wound healing, and protection against environmental damage. We also discuss howhuman diseases that target desmosome molecules directly or interfere indirectly with these mechanical and signaling functions to contribute to pathogenesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)