Discriminating roles of desmosomal cadherins: Beyond desmosomal adhesion

Rachel L. Dusek, Lisa M. Godsel, Kathleen J. Green*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


The desmosomal cadherins, which include desmogleins and desmocollins, are Ca2+-dependent adhesion molecules that cooperate to make up the adhesive core of intercellular junctions known as desmosomes. The roles of desmosomal cadherins in epidermal integrity and as targets in human cutaneous disease have been well established. However, the molecular basis of these disorders is still poorly understood, due in part to a lack of fundamental knowledge about the organization of the adhesive interface and molecular machinery that dictates the proper presentation of desmogleins and desmocollins on the cell surface. Further, the diversity of the desmosomal cadherin family, and their individualized expression patterns within complex tissues, suggests that these adhesion molecules may have differentiation-specific functions that transcend their roles in intercellular adhesion. Here we will review the most recent data from our own group and others that are beginning to unveil the diverse properties and functions of this complex family of adhesion molecules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-21
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Dermatological Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Cadherin
  • Desmocollin
  • Desmoglein
  • Desmosome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology


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