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Cell Adh Migr. 2009 Apr-Jun;3(2):148-54. Epub 2009 Apr 4.

Increased expression of Dsg2 in malignant skin carcinomas: A tissue-microarray based study.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.


Desmoglein 2 (Dsg2), a transmembrane cadherin of the desmosomal cell-cell adhesion structure, is downregulated with epithelial differentiation. We recently demonstrated that overexpression of Dsg2 in epidermal keratinocytes deregulates multiple signaling pathways associated with increased growth rate, anchorage-independent cell survival, and the development of skin tumors. While changes in Dsg2 expression have been observed in neoplastic lesions, the correlation of expression levels and localization of Dsg2 and the state of tumor development has not been fully established. Here we generated a highly sensitive Dsg2 antibody (Ab10) and characterized that antibody along with a previously developed Dsg2 specific antibody 10D2. Using these antibodies in immunostaining of tissue microarrays, we show a dramatic upregulation of Dsg2 expression in certain human epithelial malignancies including basal cell carcinomas (BCC; n = 12), squamous cell carcinomas (SCC; n = 57), carcinomas of sebaceous and sweat glands (n = 12), and adenocarcinomas (n = 3). Dsg2 expression was completely absent in malignant fibrosarcomas (n = 16) and melanomas (n = 15). While Dsg2 expression was consistently strong in BCC, it varied in SCC with a minor correlation between a decrease of Dsg2 expression and tumor differentiation. In summary, we have identified Dsg2 as a potential novel marker for epithelial-derived malignancies.

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