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Trends Cell Biol. 2013 Nov;23(11):537-46. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2013.06.004. Epub 2013 Jul 24.

Desmosome assembly and dynamics.

Author information

1
Department of Pathology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.

Abstract

Desmosomes are intercellular junctions that anchor intermediate filaments (IFs) to the plasma membrane, forming a supracellular scaffold that provides mechanical resilience to tissues. This anchoring function is accomplished by specialized members of the cadherin family and associated cytoskeletal linking proteins, which together form a highly organized membrane core flanked by mirror-image cytoplasmic plaques. Due to the biochemical insolubility of desmosomes, the mechanisms that govern assembly of these components into a functional organelle remained elusive. Recently developed molecular reporters and live cell imaging approaches have provided powerful new tools to monitor this finely tuned process in real time. Here we discuss studies that are beginning to decipher the machinery and regulation governing desmosome assembly and homeostasis in situ and how these mechanisms are affected during disease pathogenesis.

KEYWORDS:

armadillo proteins; cell junctions; desmoplakin; desmosomal cadherins

PMID:
23891292
PMCID:
PMC3913269
DOI:
10.1016/j.tcb.2013.06.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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