A high molecular mass protein of 680 kD was identified and purified from the isolated desmosomes in bovine muzzle epidermal cells. This protein, called "desmoyokin" (from the English, yoke) here, showed no binding ability with keratin filaments in vitro, and its molecule had a characteristic dumbell shape approximately 170 nm in length. We have succeeded in obtaining one monoclonal antibody specific to desmoyokin. By the use of this monoclonal antibody and antidesmoplakin monoclonal antibody, desmoyokin was shown to be colocalized with desmoplakin at the immunofluorescence microscopic level; desmoyokin occurred only in the stratified epithelium, not in the simple epithelium nor in the other tissues. At the electron microscopic level, these two proteins were clearly seen to be sorted out in the plaque of desmosomes with desmoyokin at the periphery and desmoplakin at the center of the disk-shaped desmosomal plaque, suggesting that these two plaque proteins play distinct roles in forming and maintaining the desmosomes in stratified epithelium.

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