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FASEB J. 2011 Mar;25(3):990-1001. doi: 10.1096/fj.10-163261. Epub 2010 Dec 14.

The calcium ATPase SERCA2 regulates desmoplakin dynamics and intercellular adhesive strength through modulation of PKCα signaling.

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Department of Pathology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois 60611, USA.


Darier's disease (DD) is an inherited autosomal-dominant skin disorder characterized histologically by loss of adhesion between keratinocytes. DD is typically caused by mutations in sarcoendoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+)-ATPase isoform 2 (SERCA2), a major regulator of intracellular Ca(2+) homeostasis in the skin. However, a defined role for SERCA2 in regulating intercellular adhesion remains poorly understood. We found that diminution of SERCA2 function by pharmacological inhibition or siRNA silencing in multiple human epidermal-derived cell lines was sufficient to disrupt desmosome assembly and weaken intercellular adhesive strength. Specifically, SERCA2-deficient cells exhibited up to a 60% reduction in border translocation of desmoplakin (DP), the desmosomal cytolinker protein necessary for intermediate filament (IF) anchorage to sites of robust cell-cell adhesion. In addition, loss of SERCA2 impaired the membrane translocation of protein kinase C α (PKCα), a known regulator of DP-IF association and desmosome assembly, to the plasma membrane by up to 70%. Exogenous activation of PKCα in SERCA2-deficient cells was sufficient to rescue the defective DP localization, desmosome assembly, and intercellular adhesive strength to levels comparable to controls. Our findings indicate that SERCA2-deficiency is sufficient to impede desmosome assembly and weaken intercellular adhesive strength via a PKCα-dependent mechanism, implicating SERCA2 as a novel regulator of PKCα signaling.

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