Molecular Anatomy of the Heart (V)
The desmosome. The cardiac myocytes have specialized intercellular junctions called the intercalated discs. Within the intercalated disc, there is a specific type of cell junction which is the desmosome. For simplicity, we illustrate only those proteins within the desmosome that have been found to have mutations in human diseases. Desmoglein and desmocollin are members of the cadherin superfamily of transmembrane proteins involved in cell adhesion. Desmoplakin interacts with cytoplasmic desmin filaments and the plaque proteins, plakoglobin and plakophilin. Through the interaction of plaque proteins with the cadherins, intermediate filaments are anchored to sites of cell-cell adhesion.