Desmosomal adhesion: structural basis, molecular mechanism and regulation (Review)

Mol Membr Biol. 2002 Apr-Jun;19(2):81-94. doi: 10.1080/09687680210132476.


Desmosomes are adhesive intercellular junctions of epithelia and cardiac muscle. They have an essential function in maintaining the integrity of tissues, which is compromised in human genetic and autoimmune disease that targets desmosomal components. Recent evidence (1) suggests new roles for the function of desmosomal adhesion in tissue morphogenesis, (2) gives new insights into the molecular mechanism of adhesion, (3) indicates that the desmosomal adhesion molecules, desmocollin and desmoglein, may contribute to the regulation of epidermal diffentiation, and (4) shows that the affinity of desmosomal adhesion is regulated by protein kinase C.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cadherins / metabolism
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology*
  • Desmosomes / metabolism*
  • Humans


  • Cadherins