Amino acid sequence of bovine muzzle epithelial desmocollin derived from cloned cDNA: A novel subtype of desmosomal cadherins

Peter J. Koch, Michaela D. Goldschmidt, Michael J. Walsh, Ralf Zimbelmann, Monika Schmelz, Werner W. Franke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Desmosomes are cell-type-specific intercellular junctions found in epithelium, myocardium and certain other tissues. They consist of assemblies of molecules involved in the adhesion of specific cell types and in the anchorage of cell-type-specific cytoskeletal elements, the intermediate-size filaments, to the plasma membrane. To explore the individual desmosomal components and their functions we have isolated DNA clones encoding the desmosomal glycoprotein, desmocollin, using antibodies and a cDNA expression library from bovine muzzle epithelium. The cDNA-deduced amino-acid sequence of desmocollin (presently we cannot decide to which of the two desmocollins, DC I or DC II, this clone relates) defines a polypeptide with a calculated molecular weight of 85,000, with a single candidate sequence of 24 amino acids sufficiently long for a trans-membrane arrangement, and an extracellular aminoterminal portion of 561 amino acid residues, compared to a cytoplasmic part of only 176 amino acids. Amino acid sequence comparisons have revealed that desmocollin is highly homologous to members of the eadherin family of cell adhesion molecules, including the previously sequenced desmoglein, another desmosome-specific eadherin. Using riboprobes derived from cDNAs for Northern-blot analyses, we have identified an mRNA of approximately 6 kb in stratified epithelia such as muzzle epithelium and tongue mucosa but not in two epithelial cell culture lines containing desmosomes and desmoplakins. The difference may indicate drastic differences in mRNA concentration or the existence of cell-typespecific desmocollin subforms. The molecular topology of desmocollin(s) is discussed in relation to possible functions of the individual molecular domains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-36
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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