E-cadherin binds to desmoglein to facilitate desmosome assembly

Shafraz O, Rübsam M, Stahley SN, Caldara AL, Kowalczyk AP, Niessen CM, Sivasankar S

Elife 2018 07;7

PMID: 29999492

Abstract

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 (between opposing cells) and (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 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 interactions at nascent cell-cell contacts initiate the recruitment of Dsg through direct interactions with Ecad which facilitates desmosome assembly.

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