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J Biol Chem. 2002 Mar 22;277(12):10512-22. Epub 2002 Jan 14.

Protein binding and functional characterization of plakophilin 2. Evidence for its diverse roles in desmosomes and beta -catenin signaling.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Illinois 60611, USA.


Plakophilins are a subfamily of p120-related arm-repeat proteins that can be found in both desmosomes and the nucleus. Among the three known plakophilin members, plakophilin 1 has been linked to a genetic skin disorder and shown to play important roles in desmosome assembly and organization. However, little is known about the binding partners and functions of the most widely expressed member, plakophilin 2. To better understand the cellular functions of plakophilin 2, we have examined its protein interactions with other junctional molecules using co-immunoprecipitation and yeast two-hybrid assays. Here we show that plakophilin 2 can interact directly with several desmosomal components, including desmoplakin, plakoglobin, desmoglein 1 and 2, and desmocollin 1a and 2a. The head domain of plakophilin 2 is critical for most of these interactions and is sufficient to direct plakophilin 2 to cell borders. In addition, plakophilin 2 is less efficient than plakophilin 1 in localizing to the nucleus and enhancing the recruitment of excess desmoplakin to cell borders in transiently transfected COS cells. Furthermore, plakophilin 2 is able to associate with beta-catenin through its head domain, and the expression of plakophilin 2 in SW480 cells up-regulates the endogenous beta-catenin/T cell factor-signaling activity. This up-regulation by plakophilin 2 is abolished by ectopic expression of E-cadherin, suggesting that these proteins compete for the same pool of signaling active beta-catenin. Our results demonstrate that plakophilin 2 interacts with a broader repertoire of desmosomal components than plakophilin 1 and provide new insight into the possible roles of plakophilin 2 in regulating the signaling activity of beta-catenin.

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