Desmosomes are intercellular junctions in which cadherin cell adhesion molecules are linked to the intermediate filament (IF) system. Desmoplakin is a member of the plakin family of IF-binding proteins. The C-terminal domain of desmoplakin (DPCT) mediates binding to IFs in desmosomes. The DPCT sequence contains three regions, termed A, B and C, consisting of 4.5 copies of a 38-amino acid repeat motif. We demonstrate that these regions form discrete subdomains that bind to IFs and report the crystal structures of domains B and C. In contrast to the elongated structures formed by other kinds of repeat motifs, the plakin repeats form a globular structure with a unique fold. A conserved basic groove found on the domain may represent an IF-binding site.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Structural Biology