Desmosomes in Cell Adhesion

Desmosomes, or macula adherens, are junctional structures which belong to the cell adhesion and more specifically to the cell-to-cell junction structures. These highly specialized structures are formed by the desmosome proteins, a group of non-classical cadherins including desmogleins and desmocollins which are linked to intermediate filaments. The desmosomes are composed of the desmosome-intermediate filament complex (DIFC) which is randomly arranged on the lateral side of the plasma membrane. 

The desmosome-intermediate filament complex (DIFC)

  • network of non-classical cadherins, linker proteins and intermediate filaments
  • divided in three regions
  • the extracellular core region, containing desmoglein and desmocollin
  • the outer dense plaque containing intracellular end of desmoglein and desmocollin as well as N-terminal sides of desmoplakin, plakoglobin and plakophillin
  • the inner dense plaque containing C-terminal ends of desmoplakin and their attachment to intermediate filaments


Desmosome Research Antibodies

PROGEN offers a comprehensive portfolio, containing different antibodies against all desmosome proteins. Our desmosome antibodies are highly published and have been independently validated for relevant applications (western blot, IHC, IF and ICC). Protocols and data provide useful information for your experimental design.

Desmoglein & Desmocollin

  • N-termini of both proteins are located in the extracellular space
  • C-termini are located in the outer dense plaques
  • form heterophilic interactions with each other near the N-termini
  • have single transmembrane domain as well as intracellular anchor to secure position in the cell membrane
  • bind to plakoglobin 

Learn more about our Desmoglein Antibodies

Learn more about our Desmocollin Antibodies


  • N-terminus located in the outer dense plaques
  • mediates attachment to intracellular fila to the desmosome structure is anchored by plakoglobin and plakophilin
  • C-terminus located in the inner dense plaques
  • attachment to keratin intermediate filaments

Learn more about our Desmoplakin Antibodies

Plakoglobin and Plakophilin

  • armadillo proteins
  • mediate attachment to intracellular filaments as well as cell membrane proteins
  • anchor desmoplakin & intermediate filament to desmosome structure

Learn more about our Plakoglobin Antibodies

Learn more about our Plakophilin Antibodies


    Publications using PROGEN´s desmosome antibodies

    1. Nekrasova, O. et al. Desmosomal cadherin association with Tctex-1 and cortactin-Arp2/3 drives perijunctional actin polymerization to promote keratinocyte delamination. Nat.Commun. 9, 1053 (2018).
    2. Vielmuth, F. et al. Keratins Regulate p38MAPK-Dependent Desmoglein Binding Properties in Pemphigus. Front.Immunol. 9, 528 (2018).
    3. Price, A. et al. Mechanical loading of desmosomes depends on the magnitude and orientation of external stress. Nat.Commun. 9, 5284 (2018).
    4. Shafraz, O. et al. E-cadherin binds to desmoglein to facilitate desmosome assembly. Elife. 7,  (2018).
    5. Kudo, I. et al. Particular gene upregulation and p53 heterogeneous expression in TP53-mutated maxillary carcinoma. Oncol.Lett. 14, 4633-4640 (2017).
    6. Izawa, G., Kobayashi, W., Haraguchi, M., Sudo, A. & Ozawa, M. The ectopic expression of Snail in MDBK cells does not induce epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Int. J. Mol. Med.36, 166–72 (2015).
    7. Homberg, M. et al. Distinct Impact of Two Keratin Mutations Causing Epidermolysis Bullosa Simplex on Keratinocyte Adhesion and Stiffness. J. Invest. Dermatol. 135, 2437–2445 (2015).
    8. Yang, C. et al. Plakophilin 1-deficient cells upregulate SPOCK1: implications for prostate cancer progression. Tumour Biol. 36, 9567–77 (2015).
    9. Fischer-Kešo, R. et al. Plakophilins 1 and 3 bind to FXR1 and thereby influence the mRNA stability of desmosomal proteins. Mol. Cell. Biol. 34, 4244–56 (2014).
    10. Dayal, J. H. S. et al. Type VII collagen regulates expression of OATP1B3, promotes front-to-rear polarity and increases structural organisation in 3D spheroid cultures of RDEB tumour keratinocytes. J. Cell Sci.127, 740–51 (2014).
    11. Rickelt, S. Plakophilin-2: a cell-cell adhesion plaque molecule of selective and fundamental importance in cardiac functions and tumor cell growth. Cell Tissue Res. 348, 281–94 (2012).
    12. Jennemann, R. et al. Loss of ceramide synthase 3 causes lethal skin barrier disruption. Hum. Mol. Genet. 21, 586–608 (2012).