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Normal cardiac function is maintained through dynamic interactions of cardiac cells with each other and with the extracellular matrix. These interactions are important for remodeling during cardiac growth and pathophysiological conditions. However, the precise mechanisms of these interactions remain unclear. In this study we examined the importance of desmoplakin (DSP) in cardiac cell-cell interactions. Cell-cell communication in the heart requires the formation and preservation of cell contacts by cell adhesion junctions called desmosome-like structures. A major protein component of this complex is DSP, which plays a role in linking the cytoskeletal network to the plasma membrane. Our laboratory previously generated a polyclonal antibody (1611) against the detergent soluble fraction of cardiac fibroblast plasma membrane. In attempting to define which proteins 1611 recognizes, we performed two-dimensional electrophoresis and identified DSP as one of the major proteins recognized by 1611. Immunoprecipitation studies demonstrated that 1611 was able to directly pulldown DSP. We also demonstrate that 1611 and anti-DSP antibodies co-localize in whole heart sections. Finally, using a three-dimensional in vitro cell-cell interaction assay, we demonstrate that 1611 can inhibit cell-cell interactions. These data indicate that DSP is an important protein for cell-cell interactions and affects a variety of cellular functions, including cytokine secretion.


Stephanie L K Bowers, William A McFadden, Thomas K Borg, Troy A Baudino. Desmoplakin is important for proper cardiac cell-cell interactions. Microscopy and microanalysis : the official journal of Microscopy Society of America, Microbeam Analysis Society, Microscopical Society of Canada. 2012 Feb;18(1):107-14

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PMID: 22152112

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