The desmosome.

Department of Cell Biology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.
Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology (Impact Factor: 8.23). 08/2009; 1(2):a002543. DOI: 10.1101/cshperspect.a002543
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Desmosomes are intercellular junctions that tether intermediate filaments to the plasma membrane. Desmogleins and desmocollins, members of the cadherin superfamily, mediate adhesion at desmosomes. Cytoplasmic components of the desmosome associate with the desmosomal cadherin tails through a series of protein interactions, which serve to recruit intermediate filaments to sites of desmosome assembly. These desmosomal plaque components include plakoglobin and the plakophilins, members of the armadillo gene family. Linkage to the cytoskeleton is mediated by the intermediate filament binding protein, desmoplakin, which associates with both plakoglobin and plakophilins. Although desmosomes are critical for maintaining stable cell-cell adhesion, emerging evidence indicates that they are also dynamic structures that contribute to cellular processes beyond that of cell adhesion. This article outlines the structure and function of the major desmosomal proteins, and explores the contributions of this protein complex to tissue architecture and morphogenesis.

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    ABSTRACT: Disruption of cell-cell junctions and the concomitant loss of polarity, downregulation of tumor-suppressive adherens junctions and desmosomes represent hallmark phenotypes for several different cancer cells. Moreover, a variety of evidence supports the argument that these two common phenotypes of cancer cells directly contribute to tumorigenesis. In this study, we aimed to determine the status of intercellular junction proteins expression in JJ012 human malignant chondrosarcoma cells and investigate the effect of the antitumorigenic cytokine, proline-rich polypeptide-1 (PRP-1) on their expression. The cell junction pathway array data indicated downregulation of desmosomal proteins, such as desmoglein (1,428-fold), desmoplakin (620-fold) and plakoglobin (442-fold). The tight junction proteins claudin 11 and E-cadherin were also downregulated (399- and 52-fold, respectively). Among the upregulated proteins were the characteristic for tumors gap junction β-5 protein (connexin 31.1) and the pro-inflammatory pathway protein intercellular adhesion molecule (upregulated 129- and 43-fold, respectively). We demonstrated that PRP-1 restored the expression of the abovementioned downregulated in chondrosarcoma desmosomal proteins. PRP-1 inhibited H3K9-specific histone demethylase activity in chondrosarcoma cells in a dose-dependent manner (0.5 µg/ml PRP, 63%; 1 µg/ml PRP, 74%; and 10 µg/ml PRP, 91% inhibition). Members of the H3K9 family were shown to transcriptionally repress tumor suppressor genes and contribute to cancer progression. Our experimental data indicated that PRP-1 restores tumor suppressor desmosomal protein expression in JJ012 human chondrosarcoma cells and inhibits H3K9 demethylase activity, contributing to the suppression of tumorigenic potential in chondrosarcoma cells.
    Molecular and Clinical Oncology 01/2015; 3(1):171-178. DOI:10.3892/mco.2014.445
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    ABSTRACT: Desmosomes are intercellular adhesive junctions of major importance for tissue integrity. To allow cell motility and migration they are down-regulated in epidermal wound healing. Electron microscopy indicates that whole desmosomes are internalised by cells in tissues, but the mechanism of down-regulation is unclear. In this paper we provide an overview of the internalisation of half-desmosomes by cultured cells induced by calcium chelation. Our results show that: (i) half desmosome internalisation is dependent on conventional PKC isoforms; (ii) microtubules transport internalised half desmosomes to the region of the centrosome by a kinesin-dependent mechanism; (iii) desmosomal proteins remain colocalised after internalisation and are not recycled to the cell surface; (iv) internalised desmosomes are degraded by the combined action of lysosomes and proteasomes. We also confirm that half desmosome internalisation is dependent upon the actin cytoskeleton. These results suggest that half desmosomes are not disassembled and recycled during or after internalisation but instead are transported to the centrosomal region where they are degraded. These findings may have significance for the down-regulation of desmosomes in wounds.
    PLoS ONE 10/2014; 9(10):e108570. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0108570 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cell-cell adhesion is paramount in providing and maintaining multicellular structure and signal transmission between cells. In the skin, disruption to desmosomal regulated intercellular connectivity may lead to disorders of keratinization and hyperproliferative disease including cancer. Recently we showed transgenic mice overexpressing desmoglein 2 (Dsg2) in the epidermis develop hyperplasia. Following microarray and gene network analysis, we demonstrate that Dsg2 caused a profound change in the transcriptome of keratinocytes in vivo and altered a number of genes important in epithelial dysplasia including: calcium-binding proteins (S100A8 and S100A9), members of the cyclin protein family, and the cysteine protease inhibitor cystatin A (CSTA). CSTA is deregulated in several skin cancers, including squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) and loss of function mutations lead to recessive skin fragility disorders. The microarray results were confirmed by qPCR, immunoblotting, and immunohistochemistry. CSTA was detected at high level throughout the newborn mouse epidermis but dramatically decreased with development and was detected predominantly in the differentiated layers. In human keratinocytes, knockdown of Dsg2 by siRNA or shRNA reduced CSTA expression. Furthermore, siRNA knockdown of CSTA resulted in cytoplasmic localization of Dsg2, perturbed cytokeratin 14 staining and reduced levels of desmoplakin in response to mechanical stretching. Both knockdown of either Dsg2 or CSTA induced loss of cell adhesion in a dispase-based assay and the effect was synergistic. Our findings here offer a novel pathway of CSTA regulation involving Dsg2 and a potential crosstalk between Dsg2 and CSTA that modulates cell adhesion. These results further support the recent human genetic findings that loss of function mutations in the CSTA gene result in skin fragility due to impaired cell-cell adhesion: autosomal-recessive exfoliative ichthyosis or acral peeling skin syndrome.
    PLoS ONE 01/2015; 10(3):e0120091. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0120091 · 3.53 Impact Factor


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