RPGRIP1L is required for stabilizing epidermal keratinocyte adhesion through regulating desmoglein endocytosis

PLoS Genet. 2019 Jan 28;15(1):e1007914. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1007914. eCollection 2019 Jan.


Cilia-related proteins are believed to be involved in a broad range of cellular processes. Retinitis pigmentosa GTPase regulator interacting protein 1-like (RPGRIP1L) is a ciliary protein required for ciliogenesis in many cell types, including epidermal keratinocytes. Here we report that RPGRIP1L is also involved in the maintenance of desmosomal junctions between keratinocytes. Genetically disrupting the Rpgrip1l gene in mice caused intraepidermal blistering, primarily between basal and suprabasal keratinocytes. This blistering phenotype was associated with aberrant expression patterns of desmosomal proteins, impaired desmosome ultrastructure, and compromised cell-cell adhesion in vivo and in vitro. We found that disrupting the RPGRIP1L gene in HaCaT cells, which do not form primary cilia, resulted in mislocalization of desmosomal proteins to the cytoplasm, suggesting a cilia-independent function of RPGRIP1L. Mechanistically, we found that RPGRIP1L regulates the endocytosis of desmogleins such that RPGRIP1L-knockdown not only induced spontaneous desmoglein endocytosis, as determined by AK23 labeling and biotinylation assays, but also exacerbated EGTA- or pemphigus vulgaris IgG-induced desmoglein endocytosis. Accordingly, inhibiting endocytosis with dynasore or sucrose rescued these desmosomal phenotypes. Biotinylation assays on cell surface proteins not only reinforced the role of RPGRIP1L in desmoglein endocytosis, but also suggested that RPGRIP1L may be more broadly involved in endocytosis. Thus, data obtained from this study advanced our understanding of the biological functions of RPGRIP1L by identifying its role in the cellular endocytic pathway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion / genetics
  • Cell Line
  • Desmogleins / genetics
  • Desmogleins / metabolism
  • Desmosomes / genetics*
  • Endocytosis / genetics*
  • Epidermis / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Junctions / genetics
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism
  • Mice


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Desmogleins
  • Ftm protein, mouse
  • RPGRIP1L protein, human