Structure and interactions of desmosomal and other cadherins

Semin Cell Biol. 1992 Jun;3(3):157-67. doi: 10.1016/s1043-4682(10)80012-1.


The cadherin superfamily of cell-cell adhesion molecules is now known to include proteins of the desmosome as well as of the adherens type of junction. The desmosomal cadherins consist of two families of proteins, the desmocollins and the desmogleins, both of which are represented by different isoforms which are differentially expressed in epidermis. The desmocollins are quite similar to the classic cadherins in overall structure, but with alternatively spliced variants; the desmogleins have extra cytoplasmic sequences added onto the basic cadherin structure. The cytoplasmic domains are specialized for binding to 'mediator' proteins, such as plakoglobin, which interconnect to the intermediate filament system rather than the actin filaments as do the classic cadherins.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Cadherins / chemistry*
  • Cadherins / physiology*
  • Calcium / physiology
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / physiology
  • Desmocollins
  • Desmogleins
  • Desmoplakins
  • Desmosomes / chemistry*
  • Desmosomes / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • gamma Catenin


  • Cadherins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Desmocollins
  • Desmogleins
  • Desmoplakins
  • gamma Catenin
  • Calcium