14-3-3 proteins regulate desmosomal adhesion via plakophilins

J Cell Sci. 2018 May 22;131(10):jcs212191. doi: 10.1242/jcs.212191.


Desmosomes are essential for strong intercellular adhesion and are abundant in tissues exposed to mechanical strain. At the same time, desmosomes need to be dynamic to allow for remodeling of epithelia during differentiation or wound healing. Phosphorylation of desmosomal plaque proteins appears to be essential for desmosome dynamics. However, the mechanisms of how context-dependent post-translational modifications regulate desmosome formation, dynamics or stability are incompletely understood. Here, we show that growth factor signaling regulates the phosphorylation-dependent association of plakophilins 1 and 3 (PKP1 and PKP3) with 14-3-3 protein isoforms, and uncover unique and partially antagonistic functions of members of the 14-3-3 family in the regulation of desmosomes. 14-3-3γ associated primarily with cytoplasmic PKP1 phosphorylated at S155 and destabilized intercellular cohesion of keratinocytes by reducing its incorporation into desmosomes. In contrast, 14-3-3σ (also known as stratifin, encoded by SFN) interacted preferentially with S285-phosphorylated PKP3 to promote its accumulation at tricellular contact sites, leading to stable desmosomes. Taken together, our study identifies a new layer of regulation of intercellular adhesion by 14-3-3 proteins.

Keywords: 14-3-3 proteins; Desmosomes; Intercellular adhesion; Plakophilin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 14-3-3 Proteins / genetics
  • 14-3-3 Proteins / metabolism*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Desmosomes / genetics
  • Desmosomes / metabolism*
  • Exoribonucleases / genetics
  • Exoribonucleases / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes / cytology
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism
  • Plakophilins / genetics
  • Plakophilins / metabolism*


  • 14-3-3 Proteins
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • PKP1 protein, human
  • PKP3 protein, human
  • Plakophilins
  • YWHAG protein, human
  • Exoribonucleases
  • SFN protein, human