We examined whether classic cadherins play a role in the formation of desmosomes using a mouse keratinocyte, PAMcN390 delta cell, which shows disrupted classic-cadherin-mediated cell adhesion by introduction of a dominant-negative mutant of N-cadherin. The expression of the mutant did not alter that of endogenous E-cadherin or desmoplakin. In control cells with functional classic cadherins, we observed redistribution of desmoplakin to cell-cell borders with insertions of keratin filaments at the contact sites as soon as 2 h after calcium elevation, after an earlier event of E-cadherin translocation to the cell-cell contact sites. In contrast, in the PAMcN390 delta cells, which showed retarded translocation of E-cadherin, the redistribution of desmoplakin and the rearrangement of keratin filaments were delayed as late as 24 h after the calcium elevation. The acquisition of Nonidet P-40 insolubility of desmoplakins also was found to be delayed in the PAMcN390 delta cells. These findings indicate that the disruption of classic cadherin affected the organization of desmosomes upon calcium elevation and suggest that the proper function of classic cadherins is a prerequisite for desmosome assembly in keratinocytes.