Desmosome dynamics in migrating epithelial cells requires the actin cytoskeleton.
ABSTRACT: Re-modeling of epithelial tissues requires that the cells in the tissue rearrange their adhesive contacts in order to allow cells to migrate relative to neighboring cells. Desmosomes are prominent adhesive structures found in a variety of epithelial tissues that are believed to inhibit cell migration and invasion. Mechanisms regulating desmosome assembly and stability in migrating cells are largely unknown. In this study we established a cell culture model to examine the fate of desmosomal components during scratch wound migration. Desmosomes are rapidly assembled between epithelial cells at the lateral edges of migrating cells and structures are transported in a retrograde fashion while the structures become larger and mature. Desmosome assembly and dynamics in this system are dependent on the actin cytoskeleton prior to being associated with the keratin intermediate filament cytoskeleton. These studies extend our understanding of desmosome assembly and provide a system to examine desmosome assembly and dynamics during epithelial cell migration.
Project description:Desmosomes are prominent adhesive junctions found in various epithelial tissues. The cytoplasmic domains of desmosomal cadherins interact with a host of desmosomal plaque proteins, including plakophilins, plakoglobin and desmoplakin, which, in turn, recruit the intermediate filament cytoskeleton to sites of cell-cell contact. Although the individual components of the desmosome are known, mechanisms regulating the assembly of this junction are poorly understood. Protein palmitoylation is a posttranslational lipid modification that plays an important role in protein trafficking and function. Here, we demonstrate that multiple desmosomal components are palmitoylated in vivo. Pharmacologic inhibition of palmitoylation disrupts desmosome assembly at cell-cell borders. We mapped the site of plakophilin palmitoylation to a conserved cysteine residue present in the armadillo repeat domain. Mutation of this single cysteine residue prevents palmitoylation, disrupts plakophilin incorporation into the desmosomal plaque and prevents plakophilin-dependent desmosome assembly. Finally, plakophilin mutants unable to become palmitoylated act in a dominant-negative manner to disrupt proper localization of endogenous desmosome components and decrease desmosomal adhesion. Taken together, these data demonstrate that palmitoylation of desmosomal components is important for desmosome assembly and adhesion.
Project description:Desmosomes are intercellular adhesive junctions of major importance for tissue integrity. To allow cell motility and migration they are down-regulated in epidermal wound healing. Electron microscopy indicates that whole desmosomes are internalised by cells in tissues, but the mechanism of down-regulation is unclear. In this paper we provide an overview of the internalisation of half-desmosomes by cultured cells induced by calcium chelation. Our results show that: (i) half desmosome internalisation is dependent on conventional PKC isoforms; (ii) microtubules transport internalised half desmosomes to the region of the centrosome by a kinesin-dependent mechanism; (iii) desmosomal proteins remain colocalised after internalisation and are not recycled to the cell surface; (iv) internalised desmosomes are degraded by the combined action of lysosomes and proteasomes. We also confirm that half desmosome internalisation is dependent upon the actin cytoskeleton. These results suggest that half desmosomes are not disassembled and recycled during or after internalisation but instead are transported to the centrosomal region where they are degraded. These findings may have significance for the down-regulation of desmosomes in wounds.
Project description:Desmosomes are adhesive junctions composed of two desmosomal cadherins: desmocollin (Dsc) and desmoglein (Dsg). Previous studies demonstrate that E-cadherin (Ecad), an adhesive protein that interacts in both trans (between opposing cells) and cis (on the same cell surface) conformations, facilitates desmosome assembly via an unknown mechanism. Here we use structure-function analysis to resolve the mechanistic roles of Ecad in desmosome formation. Using AFM force measurements, we demonstrate that Ecad interacts with isoform 2 of Dsg via a conserved Leu-175 on the Ecad cis binding interface. Super-resolution imaging reveals that Ecad is enriched in nascent desmosomes, supporting a role for Ecad in early desmosome assembly. Finally, confocal imaging demonstrates that desmosome assembly is initiated at sites of Ecad mediated adhesion, and that Ecad-L175 is required for efficient Dsg2 and desmoplakin recruitment to intercellular contacts. We propose that Ecad trans interactions at nascent cell-cell contacts initiate the recruitment of Dsg through direct cis interactions with Ecad which facilitates desmosome assembly.
Project description:Strong intercellular adhesion is critical for tissues that experience mechanical stress, such as the skin and heart. Desmosomes provide adhesive strength to tissues by anchoring desmosomal cadherins of neighboring cells to the intermediate filament cytoskeleton. Alterations in assembly and disassembly compromise desmosome function and may contribute to human diseases, such as the autoimmune skin blistering disease pemphigus vulgaris (PV). We previously demonstrated that PV auto-antibodies directed against the desmosomal cadherin desmoglein 3 (Dsg3) cause loss of adhesion by triggering membrane raft-mediated Dsg3 endocytosis. We hypothesized that raft membrane microdomains play a broader role in desmosome homeostasis by regulating the dynamics of desmosome assembly and disassembly. In human keratinocytes, Dsg3 is raft associated as determined by biochemical and super resolution immunofluorescence microscopy methods. Cholesterol depletion, which disrupts rafts, prevented desmosome assembly and adhesion, thus functionally linking rafts to desmosome formation. Interestingly, Dsg3 did not associate with rafts in cells lacking desmosomal proteins. Additionally, PV IgG-induced desmosome disassembly occurred by redistribution of Dsg3 into raft-containing endocytic membrane domains, resulting in cholesterol-dependent loss of adhesion. These findings demonstrate that membrane rafts are required for desmosome assembly and disassembly dynamics, suggesting therapeutic potential for raft targeting agents in desmosomal diseases such as PV.
Project description:Adhesion between cells is established by the formation of specialized intercellular junctional complexes, such as desmosomes. Desmosomes contain isoforms of two members of the cadherin superfamily of cell adhesion proteins, desmocollins (Dsc) and desmogleins (Dsg), but their combinatorial roles in desmosome assembly are not understood. To uncouple desmosome assembly from other cell-cell adhesion complexes, we used micro-patterned substrates of Dsc2aFc and/or Dsg2Fc and collagen IV; we show that Dsc2aFc, but not Dsg2Fc, was necessary and sufficient to recruit desmosome-specific desmoplakin into desmosome puncta and produce strong adhesive binding. Single-molecule force spectroscopy showed that monomeric Dsc2a, but not Dsg2, formed Ca(2+)-dependent homophilic bonds, and that Dsg2 formed Ca(2+)-independent heterophilic bonds with Dsc2a. A W2A mutation in Dsc2a inhibited Ca(2+)-dependent homophilic binding, similar to classical cadherins, and Dsc2aW2A, but not Dsg2W2A, was excluded from desmosomes in MDCK cells. These results indicate that Dsc2a, but not Dsg2, is required for desmosome assembly through homophilic Ca(2+)- and W2-dependent binding, and that Dsg2 might be involved later in regulating a switch to Ca(2+)-independent adhesion in mature desmosomes.
Project description:Desmosomes are prominent adhesive junctions present between many epithelial cells as well as cardiomyocytes. The mechanisms controlling desmosome assembly and remodeling in epithelial and cardiac tissue are poorly understood. We recently identified protein palmitoylation as a mechanism regulating desmosome dynamics. In this study, we have focused on the palmitoylation of the desmosomal cadherin desmoglein-2 (Dsg2) and characterized the role that palmitoylation of Dsg2 plays in its localization and stability in cultured cells. We identified two cysteine residues in the juxtamembrane (intracellular anchor) domain of Dsg2 that, when mutated, eliminate its palmitoylation. These cysteine residues are conserved in all four desmoglein family members. Although mutant Dsg2 localizes to endogenous desmosomes, there is a significant delay in its incorporation into junctions, and the mutant is also present in a cytoplasmic pool. Triton X-100 solubility assays demonstrate that mutant Dsg2 is more soluble than wild-type protein. Interestingly, trafficking of the mutant Dsg2 to the cell surface was delayed, and a pool of the non-palmitoylated Dsg2 co-localized with lysosomal markers. Taken together, these data suggest that palmitoylation of Dsg2 regulates protein transport to the plasma membrane. Modulation of the palmitoylation status of desmosomal cadherins can affect desmosome dynamics.
Project description:Desmosomes are intercellular adhesive junctions that impart strength to vertebrate tissues. Their dense, ordered intercellular attachments are formed by desmogleins (Dsgs) and desmocollins (Dscs), but the nature of trans-cellular interactions between these specialized cadherins is unclear. Here, using solution biophysics and coated-bead aggregation experiments, we demonstrate family-wise heterophilic specificity: All Dsgs form adhesive dimers with all Dscs, with affinities characteristic of each Dsg:Dsc pair. Crystal structures of ectodomains from Dsg2 and Dsg3 and from Dsc1 and Dsc2 show binding through a strand-swap mechanism similar to that of homophilic classical cadherins. However, conserved charged amino acids inhibit Dsg:Dsg and Dsc:Dsc interactions by same-charge repulsion and promote heterophilic Dsg:Dsc interactions through opposite-charge attraction. These findings show that Dsg:Dsc heterodimers represent the fundamental adhesive unit of desmosomes and provide a structural framework for understanding desmosome assembly.
Project description:Desmosomes are prominent cell-cell adhesive junctions in stratified squamous epithelia and disruption of desmosomal adhesion has been shown to have dramatic effects on the function and integrity of these tissues. During normal physiologic processes, such as tissue development and wound healing, intercellular adhesion must be modified locally to allow coordinated cell movements. The mechanisms that control junction integrity and adhesive strength under these conditions are poorly understood. We utilized a proteomics approach to identify plakophilin-3 associated proteins and identified the 14-3-3 family member stratifin. Stratifin interacts specifically with plakophilin-3 and not with other plakophilin isoforms and mutation analysis demonstrated the binding site includes serine 285 in the amino terminal head domain of plakophilin-3. Stratifin interacts with a cytoplasmic pool of plakophilin-3 and is not associated with the desmosome in cultured cells. FRAP analysis revealed that decreased stratifin expression leads to an increase in the exchange rate of cytoplasmic plakophilin-3/GFP with the pool of plakophilin-3/GFP in the desmosome resulting in decreased desmosomal adhesion and increased cell migration. We propose a model by which stratifin plays a role in regulating plakophilin-3 incorporation into the desmosomal plaque by forming a plakophilin-3 stratifin complex in the cytosol and thereby affecting desmosome dynamics in squamous epithelial cells.
Project description:Plakophilin 2 (PKP2), an armadillo family member closely related to p120 catenin (p120ctn), is a constituent of the intercellular adhesive junction, the desmosome. We previously showed that PKP2 loss prevents the incorporation of desmosome precursors enriched in the plaque protein desmoplakin (DP) into newly forming desmosomes, in part by disrupting PKC-dependent regulation of DP assembly competence. On the basis of the observation that DP incorporation into junctions is cytochalasin D-sensitive, here we ask whether PKP2 may also contribute to actin-dependent regulation of desmosome assembly. We demonstrate that PKP2 knockdown impairs cortical actin remodeling after cadherin ligation, without affecting p120ctn expression or localization. Our data suggest that these defects result from the failure of activated RhoA to localize at intercellular interfaces after cell-cell contact and an elevation of cellular RhoA, stress fibers, and other indicators of contractile signaling in squamous cell lines and atrial cardiomyocytes. Consistent with these observations, RhoA activation accelerated DP redistribution to desmosomes during the first hour of junction assembly, whereas sustained RhoA activity compromised desmosome plaque maturation. Together with our previous findings, these data suggest that PKP2 may functionally link RhoA- and PKC-dependent pathways to drive actin reorganization and regulate DP-IF interactions required for normal desmosome assembly.
Project description:Desmosome-anchored keratin intermediate filaments (KFs) are essential for epithelial coherence. Yet, desmosomal KF attachment and network organization are still unexplored in vivo. We, therefore, monitored KF network morphogenesis in fluorescent keratin 8 knock-in murine embryos revealing keratin enrichment at newly formed desmosomes followed by KF formation, KF elongation and KF fusion. To examine details of this process and its coupling to desmosome formation, we studied fluorescent keratin and desmosomal protein reporter dynamics in the periphery of expanding HaCaT keratinocyte colonies. Less than 3 min after the start of desmosomal proteins clustering non-filamentous keratin enriched at these sites followed by KF formation and elongation. Subsequently, desmosome-anchored KFs merged into stable bundles generating a rim-and-spokes system consisting of subcortical KFs connecting desmosomes to each other and radial KFs connecting desmosomes to the cytoplasmic KF network. We conclude that desmosomes are organizing centers for the KF cytoskeleton with a hitherto unknown nucleation capacity.