Structure and Function of Desmosomes

Bastian Holthöfer*, Reinhard Windoffer, Sergey Troyanovsky, Rudolf E. Leube

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

153 Scopus citations


Desmosomes are prominent adhesion sites that are tightly associated with the cytoplasmic intermediate filament cytoskeleton providing mechanical stability in epithelia and also in several nonepithelial tissues such as cardiac muscle and meninges. They are unique in terms of ultrastructural appearance and molecular composition with cell type-specific variations. The dynamic assembly properties of desmosomes are important prerequisites for the acquisition and maintenance of tissue homeostasis. Disturbance of this equilibrium therefore not only compromises mechanical resilience but also affects many other tissue functions as becomes evident in various experimental scenarios and multiple diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationA Survey of Cell Biology
EditorsKwang Jeon
Number of pages99
StatePublished - 2007

Publication series

NameInternational Review of Cytology
ISSN (Print)0074-7696


  • Cadherin
  • Cancer
  • Desmocollin
  • Desmoglein
  • Desmoplakin
  • Pemphigus
  • Plakoglobin
  • Plakophilin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Histology


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