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Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Dec 10;20(24). pii: E6221. doi: 10.3390/ijms20246221.

Evidence for the Desmosomal Cadherin Desmoglein-3 in Regulating YAP and Phospho-YAP in Keratinocyte Responses to Mechanical Forces.

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Centre for Oral Immunobiology and Regenerative Medicine, Institute of Dentistry, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London E1 2AT, UK.
Centre for Cell Biology and Cutaneous Research, Blizard Institute; Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London E1 2AT, UK.


Desmoglein 3 (Dsg3) plays a crucial role in cell-cell adhesion and tissue integrity. Increasing evidence suggests that Dsg3 acts as a regulator of cellular mechanotransduction, but little is known about its direct role in mechanical force transmission. The present study investigated the impact of cyclic strain and substrate stiffness on Dsg3 expression and its role in mechanotransduction in keratinocytes. A direct comparison was made with E-cadherin, a well-characterized mechanosensor. Exposure of oral and skin keratinocytes to equiaxial cyclic strain promoted changes in the expression and localization of junction assembly proteins. The knockdown of Dsg3 by siRNA blocked strain-induced junctional remodeling of E-cadherin and Myosin IIa. Importantly, the study demonstrated that Dsg3 regulates the expression and localization of yes-associated protein (YAP), a mechanosensory, and an effector of the Hippo pathway. Furthermore, we showed that Dsg3 formed a complex with phospho-YAP and sequestered it to the plasma membrane, while Dsg3 depletion had an impact on both YAP and phospho-YAP in their response to mechanical forces, increasing the sensitivity of keratinocytes to the strain or substrate rigidity-induced nuclear relocation of YAP and phospho-YAP. Plakophilin 1 (PKP1) seemed to be crucial in recruiting the complex containing Dsg3/phospho-YAP to the cell surface since its silencing affected Dsg3 junctional assembly with concomitant loss of phospho-YAP at the cell periphery. Finally, we demonstrated that this Dsg3/YAP pathway has an influence on the expression of YAP1 target genes and cell proliferation. Together, these findings provide evidence of a novel role for Dsg3 in keratinocyte mechanotransduction.


Phospho-YAP; YAP; adherens junction; cyclic strain; desmoglein; desmosome; keratinocyte; substrate stiffness

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