Structure, function, and regulation of desmosomes

Andrew P. Kowalczyk*, Kathleen J. Green

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

107 Scopus citations

Abstract

Desmosomes are adhesive intercellular junctions that mechanically integrate adjacent cells by coupling adhesive interactions mediated by desmosomal cadherins to the intermediate filament cytoskeletal network. Desmosomal cadherins are connected to intermediate filaments by densely clustered cytoplasmic plaque proteins comprising members of the armadillo gene family, including plakoglobin and plakophilins, and members of the plakin family of cytolinkers, such as desmoplakin. The importance of desmosomes in tissue integrity is highlighted by human diseases caused by mutations in desmosomal genes, autoantibody attack of desmosomal cadherins, and bacterial toxins that selectively target desmosomal cadherins. In addition to reviewing the well-known roles of desmosomal proteins in tissue integrity, this chapter also highlights the growing appreciation for how desmosomal proteins are integrated with cell signaling pathways to contribute to vertebrate tissue organization and differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Molecular Biology of Cadherins
PublisherElsevier B.V.
Pages95-118
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9780123943118
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

Publication series

NameProgress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science
Volume116
ISSN (Print)1877-1173

Keywords

  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Desmocollin
  • Desmoglein
  • Desmoplakin
  • Epidermis
  • Pemphigus
  • Plakoglobin
  • Plakophilin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology

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