Molecular structure of the human desmoplakin I and II amino terminus

Maria Luisa A Virata, Rita M. Wagner, David A D Parry, Kathleen J. Green*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

81 Scopus citations


Desmoplakins (DPs) I and II are closely related proteins found in the innermost region of the desmosomal plaque, which serves as a cell surface attachment site for cytoplasmic intermediate filaments. Overlapping cDNA clones comprising 9.2 kilobases of DP-I, predicted to encode a full-length 310-kDa polypeptide (2677 amino acid residues), have now been identified. Here we report the predicted protein sequence and structural analysis of the N terminus of DP, extending our previous study of the rod and carboxyl domains. The N terminus contains groups of heptad repeats that are predicted to form at least two major α-helical-rich bundles. Unlike the rod and carboxyl domains, the N terminus did not display a periodic distribution of charged residues. Northern blot mapping and genomic sequence analysis were also undertaken to examine the organization of the DP mRNAs. A 1-kilobase intron was located at the 3' boundary of a DP-I-specific region; however, instead of an intron at the 5' junction, a possible splice donor site was observed within a potential coding sequence, suggesting alternative RNA splicing from an internal donor site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)544-548
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992


  • alternative splicing
  • desmosomes
  • intercellular junctions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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