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File:Desmosome - 2.png
Cell adhesion in desmosomes

Desmoplakin is a protein in humans that is encoded by the DSP gene.[1][2][3] Desmoplakin is a critical component of desmosome structures in cardiac muscle and epidermal cells, which function to maintain the structural integrity at adjacent cell contacts. In cardiac muscle, desmoplakin is localized to intercalated discs which mechanically couple cardiac cells to function in a coordinated syncytial structure. Mutations in desmoplakin have been shown to play a role in dilated cardiomyopathy, arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, striate palmoplantar keratoderma, Carvajal syndrome and paraneoplastic pemphigus.


Desmoplakin exists as two predominant isoforms; the first, known as "DPII", has molecular weight 260.0 kDa (2272 amino acids) and the second, known as "DPI", has molecular weight 332.0 kDa (2871 amino acids).[4][5] These isoforms are identical except for the shorter rod domain in DPII. DPI is the predominant isoform expressed in cardiac muscle.[6] The DSP gene is located on chromosome 6p24.3, containing 24 exons and spanning approximately 45 kDa of genomic DNA.[7] Desmoplakin is a large desmosomal plaque protein that homodimerizes and adopts a dumbbell-shaped conformation.[7] The N-terminal globular head domain of desmoplakin is composed of a series of alpha helical bundles, and is required for both the localization to the desmosome and interaction with the N-terminal region of plakophilin 1 and plakoglobin as well as desmocollin and desmoglein.[8] This is further sub divided into a region called the "Plakin domain" made up of six spectrin repeat domains separated by SH3 domain.[9] A crystal structure of part of the plakin domain has been resolved,[10] while the entire plakin domain has been elucidated using small angle X-ray scattering which revealed a non-linear structure, an unexpected result considering spectrin repeats are observed in linear orientations.[11] The C-terminal region of desmoplakin is composed of three plakin repeat domains, termed A, B and C, which are essential for coalignment and binding of intermediate filaments.[8][12][13] Located at the most distal C-terminus of desmoplakin is a region rich in glycineserinearginine; it has been demonstrated that serine phosphorylation of this domain may modify desmoplakin-intermediate filament interactions.[14] In the mid-region of desmoplakin, a coiled-coil rod domain is responsible for homodimerization.[15]


Desmosomes are intercellular junctions that tightly link adjacent cells. Desmoplakin is an obligate component of functional desmosomes that anchors intermediate filaments to desmosomal plaques. In cardiomyocytes, desmoplakin forms desmosomal plaques with the intermediate filament desmin, whereas in endothelial cells cytokeratin type intermediate filaments are recruited, and vimentin in arachnoid and follicular dendritic cell types.[15][16] Both types of intermediate filaments attach in a lateral fashion to desmoplakin to form the plaque.[17] In cardiac muscle, desmoplakin is localized to desmosomes in intercalated discs. Desmoplakin isoform DPI is highly expressed and is thought to play a role in both the assembly and stabilization of desmosomes; its role is critical, as desmoplakin knockout mice display embryonic lethality.[18] In mice overexpressing a C-terminal mutated desmoplakin protein, desmoplakin binding to desmin is disrupted in cardiac muscle and hearts display abnormal intercalated disc formation and structure.[19] Much has been learned regarding desmoplakin function from mutations in patients with arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, where mutations in specific binding domains alter desmoplakin binding to plakoglobin or desmin and result in cell death and dysfunction.[20]

Clinical significance

Mutations in this gene are the cause of several cardiomyopathies, including dilated cardiomyopathy[21][22] and arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy.[19][23][24][25][26][11] Mutations in DSP have also been associated with striate palmoplantar keratoderma.[21][25][27][28][29] Carvajal syndrome results from an autosomal recessive mutation of a frameshift (7901delG) in DSP that results in a combination of above conditions, including dilated cardiomyopathy, keratoderma and woolly hair.[30] Patients with Carvajal syndrome often suffer from heart failure in teenage years. A case of compound heterozygosity for two DSP nonsense mutations resulting in lethal acantholytic epidermolysis bullosa has been reported.[31][32] Autoantibodies to DSP are a hallmark of the autoimmune disease paraneoplastic pemphigus.[33][34] Decreased desmoplakin expression has been found in patients with oropharyngeal cancer and breast cancer, which may alter cell-cell adhesion properties and propagate metastasis.[35][36]


Desmoplakin has been shown to interact with:

See also


  1. Arnemann J, Spurr NK, Wheeler GN, Parker AE, Buxton RS (October 1991). "Chromosomal assignment of the human genes coding for the major proteins of the desmosome junction, desmoglein DGI (DSG), desmocollins DGII/III (DSC), desmoplakins DPI/II (DSP), and plakoglobin DPIII (JUP)". Genomics. 10 (3): 640–5. doi:10.1016/0888-7543(91)90446-L. PMID 1889810.
  2. "Entrez Gene: DSP desmoplakin".
  3. Bornslaeger EA, Corcoran CM, Stappenbeck TS, Green KJ (August 1996). "Breaking the connection: displacement of the desmosomal plaque protein desmoplakin from cell-cell interfaces disrupts anchorage of intermediate filament bundles and alters intercellular junction assembly". J. Cell Biol. 134 (4): 985–1001. doi:10.1083/jcb.134.4.985. PMC 2120955. PMID 8769422.
  4. "Protein sequence of human desmoplakin (Uniprot ID: P15924)". Cardiac Organellar Protein Atlas Knowledgabase (COPaKB). Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  5. "Protein sequence of human desmoplakin (Uniprot ID: P15924-2)". Cardiac Organellar Protein Atlas Knowledgebase (COPaKB). Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  6. Al-Jassar C, Bikker H, Overduin M, Chidgey M (Nov 2013). "Mechanistic basis of desmosome-targeted diseases". Journal of Molecular Biology. 425 (21): 4006–22. doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2013.07.035. PMC 3807649. PMID 23911551.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Green KJ, Parry DA, Steinert PM, Virata ML, Wagner RM, Angst BD, Nilles LA (Feb 1990). "Structure of the human desmoplakins. Implications for function in the desmosomal plaque". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 265 (5): 2603–12. PMID 1689290.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Smith EA, Fuchs E (1998). "Defining the interactions between intermediate filaments and desmosomes". J. Cell Biol. 141 (5): 1229–41. doi:10.1083/jcb.141.5.1229. PMC 2137181. PMID 9606214.
  9. Jefferson JJ, Ciatto C, Shapiro L, Liem RK (Feb 2007). "Structural analysis of the plakin domain of bullous pemphigoid antigen1 (BPAG1) suggests that plakins are members of the spectrin superfamily". Journal of Molecular Biology. 366 (1): 244–57. doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2006.11.036. PMC 1850962. PMID 17161423.
  10. Choi HJ, Weis WI (2011). "Crystal structure of a rigid four-spectrin-repeat fragment of the human desmoplakin plakin domain". J. Mol. Biol. 409 (5): 800–12. doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2011.04.046. PMC 3107870. PMID 21536047.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Al-Jassar C, Knowles T, Jeeves M, Kami K, Behr E, Bikker H, Overduin M, Chidgey M (2011). "The nonlinear structure of the desmoplakin plakin domain and the effects of cardiomyopathy-linked mutations". J. Mol. Biol. 411 (5): 1049–61. doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2011.06.047. PMID 21756917.
  12. Choi HJ, Park-Snyder S, Pascoe LT, Green KJ, Weis WI (Aug 2002). "Structures of two intermediate filament-binding fragments of desmoplakin reveal a unique repeat motif structure". Nature Structural Biology. 9 (8): 612–20. doi:10.1038/nsb818. PMID 12101406.
  13. Stappenbeck TS, Bornslaeger EA, Corcoran CM, Luu HH, Virata ML, Green KJ (Nov 1993). "Functional analysis of desmoplakin domains: specification of the interaction with keratin versus vimentin intermediate filament networks". The Journal of Cell Biology. 123 (3): 691–705. doi:10.1083/jcb.123.3.691. PMC 2200123. PMID 7693716.
  14. Stappenbeck TS, Lamb JA, Corcoran CM, Green KJ (Nov 1994). "Phosphorylation of the desmoplakin COOH terminus negatively regulates its interaction with keratin intermediate filament networks". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 269 (47): 29351–4. PMID 7525582.
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  16. Kartenbeck J, Schwechheimer K, Moll R, Franke WW (Mar 1984). "Attachment of vimentin filaments to desmosomal plaques in human meningiomal cells and arachnoidal tissue". The Journal of Cell Biology. 98 (3): 1072–81. doi:10.1083/jcb.98.3.1072. PMC 2113124. PMID 6365927.
  17. Kartenbeck J, Franke WW, Moser JG, Stoffels U (1983). "Specific attachment of desmin filaments to desmosomal plaques in cardiac myocytes". The EMBO Journal. 2 (5): 735–42. PMC 555178. PMID 6416832.
  18. Gallicano GI, Kouklis P, Bauer C, Yin M, Vasioukhin V, Degenstein L, Fuchs E (Dec 1998). "Desmoplakin is required early in development for assembly of desmosomes and cytoskeletal linkage". The Journal of Cell Biology. 143 (7): 2009–22. doi:10.1083/jcb.143.7.2009. PMC 2175222. PMID 9864371.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Yang Z, Bowles NE, Scherer SE, Taylor MD, Kearney DL, Ge S, Nadvoretskiy VV, DeFreitas G, Carabello B, Brandon LI, Godsel LM, Green KJ, Saffitz JE, Li H, Danieli GA, Calkins H, Marcus F, Towbin JA (Sep 2006). "Desmosomal dysfunction due to mutations in desmoplakin causes arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy". Circulation Research. 99 (6): 646–55. doi:10.1161/01.RES.0000241482.19382.c6. PMID 16917092.
  20. Awad MM, Calkins H, Judge DP (May 2008). "Mechanisms of disease: molecular genetics of arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy". Nature Clinical Practice Cardiovascular Medicine. 5 (5): 258–67. doi:10.1038/ncpcardio1182. PMC 2822988. PMID 18382419.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Norgett EE, Hatsell SJ, Carvajal-Huerta L, Cabezas JC, Common J, Purkis PE, Whittock N, Leigh IM, Stevens HP, Kelsell DP (Nov 2000). "Recessive mutation in desmoplakin disrupts desmoplakin-intermediate filament interactions and causes dilated cardiomyopathy, woolly hair and keratoderma". Human Molecular Genetics. 9 (18): 2761–6. doi:10.1093/hmg/9.18.2761. PMID 11063735.
  22. Carvajal-Huerta L (Sep 1998). "Epidermolytic palmoplantar keratoderma with woolly hair and dilated cardiomyopathy". Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 39 (3): 418–21. doi:10.1016/s0190-9622(98)70317-2. PMID 9738775.
  23. Rampazzo A, Nava A, Malacrida S, Beffagna G, Bauce B, Rossi V, Zimbello R, Simionati B, Basso C, Thiene G, Towbin JA, Danieli GA (Nov 2002). "Mutation in human desmoplakin domain binding to plakoglobin causes a dominant form of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy". American Journal of Human Genetics. 71 (5): 1200–6. doi:10.1086/344208. PMC 385098. PMID 12373648.
  24. Alcalai R, Metzger S, Rosenheck S, Meiner V, Chajek-Shaul T (Jul 2003). "A recessive mutation in desmoplakin causes arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia, skin disorder, and woolly hair". Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 42 (2): 319–27. doi:10.1016/s0735-1097(03)00628-4. PMID 12875771.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Uzumcu A, Norgett EE, Dindar A, Uyguner O, Nisli K, Kayserili H, Sahin SE, Dupont E, Severs NJ, Leigh IM, Yuksel-Apak M, Kelsell DP, Wollnik B (Feb 2006). "Loss of desmoplakin isoform I causes early onset cardiomyopathy and heart failure in a Naxos-like syndrome". Journal of Medical Genetics. 43 (2): e5. doi:10.1136/jmg.2005.032904. PMC 2564645. PMID 16467215.
  26. van der Zwaag PA, Jongbloed JD, van den Berg MP, van der Smagt JJ, Jongbloed R, Bikker H, Hofstra RM, van Tintelen JP (Sep 2009). "A genetic variants database for arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy". Human Mutation. 30 (9): 1278–83. doi:10.1002/humu.21064. PMID 19569224.
  27. Armstrong DK, McKenna KE, Purkis PE, Green KJ, Eady RA, Leigh IM, Hughes AE (Jan 1999). "Haploinsufficiency of desmoplakin causes a striate subtype of palmoplantar keratoderma". Human Molecular Genetics. 8 (1): 143–8. doi:10.1093/hmg/8.1.143. PMID 9887343.
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  29. Whittock NV, Wan H, Morley SM, Garzon MC, Kristal L, Hyde P, McLean WH, Pulkkinen L, Uitto J, Christiano AM, Eady RA, McGrath JA (Feb 2002). "Compound heterozygosity for non-sense and mis-sense mutations in desmoplakin underlies skin fragility/woolly hair syndrome". The Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 118 (2): 232–8. doi:10.1046/j.0022-202x.2001.01664.x. PMID 11841538.
  30. Carvajal-Huerta L (Sep 1998). "Epidermolytic palmoplantar keratoderma with woolly hair and dilated cardiomyopathy". Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 39 (3): 418–21. doi:10.1016/s0190-9622(98)70317-2. PMID 9738775.
  31. Jonkman MF, Pasmooij AM, Pasmans SG, van den Berg MP, Ter Horst HJ, Timmer A, Pas HH (Oct 2005). "Loss of desmoplakin tail causes lethal acantholytic epidermolysis bullosa". American Journal of Human Genetics. 77 (4): 653–60. doi:10.1086/496901. PMC 1275614. PMID 16175511.
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Further reading

External links