Protein exchange is reduced in calcium-independent epithelial junctions

Academic Article


  • Desmosomes are cell-cell junctions that provide mechanical integrity to epithelial and cardiac tissues. Desmosomes have two distinct adhesive states, calcium-dependent and hyperadhesive, which balance tissue plasticity and strength. A highly ordered array of cadherins in the adhesive interface is hypothesized to drive hyperadhesion, but how desmosome structure confers adhesive state is still elusive. We employed fluorescence polarization microscopy to show that cadherin order is not required for hyperadhesion induced by pharmacologic and genetic approaches. FRAP experiments in cells treated with the PKCα inhibitor Gö6976 revealed that cadherins, plakoglobin, and desmoplakin have significantly reduced exchange in and out of hyperadhesive desmosomes. To test whether this was a result of enhanced keratin association, we used the desmoplakin mutant S2849G, which conferred reduced protein exchange. We propose that inside-out regulation of protein exchange modulates adhesive function, whereby proteins are “locked in” to hyperadhesive desmosomes while protein exchange confers plasticity on calcium-dependent desmosomes, thereby providing rapid control of adhesion.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Bartle EI; Rao TC; Beggs RR; Dean WF; Urner TM; Kowalczyk AP; Mattheyses AL
  • Volume

  • 219
  • Issue

  • 6