Desmosomal plaque proteins have been identified in immunoblotting and immunolocalization experiments on a wide range of cell types from several species, using a panel of monoclonal murine antibodies to desmoplakins I and II and a guinea pig antiserum to desmosomal band 5 protein. Specifically, we have taken advantage of the fact that certain antibodies react with both desmoplakins I and II, whereas others react only with desmoplakin I, indicating that desmoplakin I contains unique regions not present on the closely related desmoplakin II. While some of these antibodies recognize epitopes conserved between chick and man, others display a narrow species specificity. The results show that proteins whose size, charge, and biochemical behavior are very similar to those of desmoplakin I and band 5 protein of cow snout epidermis are present in all desmosomes examined. These include examples of simple and pseudostratified epithelia and myocardial tissue, in addition to those of stratified epithelia. In contrast, in immunoblotting experiments, we have detected desmoplakin II only among cells of stratified and pseudostratified epithelial tissues. This suggests that the desmosomal plaque structure varies in its complement of polypeptides in a cell-type specific manner. We conclude that the obligatory desmosomal plaque proteins, desmoplakin I and band 5 protein, are expressed in a coordinate fashion but independently from other differentiation programs of expression such as those specific for either epithelial or cardiac cells.

This content is only available as a PDF.