The team from the Faculty of Life Sciences studied how cells in the skin and heart are bound together through structures called desmosomes
attach neighbouring cells together and it is these tiny collections of proteins, which are responsible for the mechanical strength of organs and tissues within the body.
are major intercellular adhesive junctions found in all epithelial and cardiac tissues.
Aspects of the structure and assembly of desmosomes
Among the topics are cadherins, adherens junctions and desmosomes
, integrins and focal contacts, receptor tyrosine phosphatases, Notch and Slit-Robo signaling, adhesive binding to collagen and fibrillin, and complex adhesive mechanisms involved in leukocyte migration and malaria.
The cell membrane projects numerous microvilli into the canalicular lumen and desmosomes
, and tight junctions assure the cohesion (Bruslé and Anadon, 1996).
A defect in keratinocyte desmosomes
leads to keratinocyte acantholysis, which clinically manifests as fragile skin that may form vesicles and bullae (5).
Viable cells break away from their support in a complex process involving signal transduction mechanisms (from inside to outside the cell) that result in conformational changes of the extracellular domain of desmosomes
and hemidesmosomes .
are points of interface between the tight junctions, and adherens junctions keep the cell membranes adhesive enough to stabilize the junctions.
These genes encode components of desmosomes
(DSG2), gap junctions (CX26), tight junctions (CLDN4, CLDN7), the cornified envelope (SPRRIA, 2A, 2B, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2I, 2J), intermediate filaments (KRT19), and a variety of cell-surface and extracellular-matrix glycoproteins (SPP1, BGP1, BGP2, MUC1, TROP2, CLU).
They present with extensive, recalcitrant oral and skin lesions, and on immunofluorescence, have antibodies to monkey esophageal keratinocytes, heart, lung, and other desmosomes
In aged skin, desmosomes
are down-regulated or prematurely degraded.