Desmosomal protein structure and function and the impact of disease-causing mutations

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Colleges, School and Institutes


In this graphical review we focus on the structural characteristics of desmosomal proteins, their interactions with each other and with the intermediate filament cytoskeleton. The wealth of structural information that is now available allows predictions to be made about the pathogenic effect of disease-causing mutations. We have selected representative examples of missense mutations that are buried, semi-buried or surface exposed, and demonstrate how such variants could affect the structural fold of desmosomal proteins that are expressed in the heart. We explain how such alterations could compromise desmosomal adhesion, resulting in life threatening diseases including arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy.


Original languageEnglish
Article number107749
JournalJournal of Structural Biology
Issue number3
Early online date24 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021


  • Desmosome, Cell–cell adhesion, Desmosomal proteins, Disease-related missense mutations, Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy