Send to

Choose Destination
J Cell Sci. 2014 May 15;127(Pt 10):2339-50. doi: 10.1242/jcs.146316. Epub 2014 Mar 7.

Different roles of cadherins in the assembly and structural integrity of the desmosome complex.

Author information

Cancer Biology Program, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA Ames Laboratory, United States Department of Energy, Ames, IA 50011, USA.
Institut Jacques Monod, Unité Mixte de Recherche 7592, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, and Université Paris-Diderot, 75013 Paris, France.
Department of Pathology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.
Cancer Biology Program, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA


Adhesion between cells is established by the formation of specialized intercellular junctional complexes, such as desmosomes. Desmosomes contain isoforms of two members of the cadherin superfamily of cell adhesion proteins, desmocollins (Dsc) and desmogleins (Dsg), but their combinatorial roles in desmosome assembly are not understood. To uncouple desmosome assembly from other cell-cell adhesion complexes, we used micro-patterned substrates of Dsc2aFc and/or Dsg2Fc and collagen IV; we show that Dsc2aFc, but not Dsg2Fc, was necessary and sufficient to recruit desmosome-specific desmoplakin into desmosome puncta and produce strong adhesive binding. Single-molecule force spectroscopy showed that monomeric Dsc2a, but not Dsg2, formed Ca(2+)-dependent homophilic bonds, and that Dsg2 formed Ca(2+)-independent heterophilic bonds with Dsc2a. A W2A mutation in Dsc2a inhibited Ca(2+)-dependent homophilic binding, similar to classical cadherins, and Dsc2aW2A, but not Dsg2W2A, was excluded from desmosomes in MDCK cells. These results indicate that Dsc2a, but not Dsg2, is required for desmosome assembly through homophilic Ca(2+)- and W2-dependent binding, and that Dsg2 might be involved later in regulating a switch to Ca(2+)-independent adhesion in mature desmosomes.


Adhesion; Desmocollin; Desmoglein; Desmosome

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center