Desmocollin 3-mediated binding is crucial for keratinocyte cohesion and is impaired in pemphigus

Volker Spindler, Wolfgang Moritz Heupel, Athina Efthymiadis, Enno Schmidt, Rüdiger Eming, Christian Rankl, Peter Hinterdorfer, Thomas Müller, Detlev Drenckhahn, Jens Waschke*

*Corresponding author for this work
79 Citations (Scopus)


Desmocollin (Dsc) 1-3 and desmoglein (Dsg) 1-4, transmembrane proteins of the cadherin family, form the adhesive core of desmosomes. Here we provide evidence that Dsc3 homo- and heterophilic trans-interaction is crucial for epidermal integrity. Single molecule atomic force microscopy (AFM) revealed homophilic trans-interaction of Dsc3. Dsc3 displayed heterophilic interaction with Dsg1 but not with Dsg3. A monoclonal antibody targeted against the extracellular domain reduced homophilic and heterophilic binding as measured by AFM, caused intraepidermal blistering in a model of human skin, and a loss of intercellular adhesion in cultured keratinocytes. Because autoantibodies against Dsg1 are associated with skin blistering in pemphigus, we characterized the role of Dsc3 binding for pemphigus pathogenesis. In contrast to AFM experiments, laser tweezer trapping revealed that pemphigus autoantibodies reduced binding of Dsc3-coated beads to the keratinocyte cell surface. These data indicate that loss of heterophilic Dsc3/Dsg1 binding may contribute to pemphigus skin blistering.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number44
Pages (from-to)30556-30564
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 30.10.2009

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)


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