, Volume 348, Issue 2, pp 281-294,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 28 Jan 2012

Plakophilin-2: a cell-cell adhesion plaque molecule of selective and fundamental importance in cardiac functions and tumor cell growth

Abstract

Within the characteristic ensemble of desmosomal plaque proteins, the armadillo protein plakophilin-2 (Pkp2) is known as a particularly important regulatory component in the cytoplasmic plaques of various other cell–cell junctions, such as the composite junctions (areae compositae) of the myocardiac intercalated disks and in the variously-sized and -shaped complex junctions of permanent cell culture lines derived therefrom. In addition, Pkp2 has been detected in certain protein complexes in the nucleoplasm of diverse kinds of cells. Using a novel set of highly sensitive and specific antibodies, both kinds of Pkp2, the junctional plaque-bound and the nuclear ones, can also be localized to the cytoplasmic plaques of diverse non-desmosomal cell–cell junction structures. These are not only the puncta adhaerentia and the fasciae adhaerentes connecting various types of highly proliferative non-epithelial cells growing in culture but also some very proliferative states of cardiac interstitial cells and cardiac myxomata, including tumors growing in situ as well as fetal stages of heart development and cultures of valvular interstitial cells. Possible functions and assembly mechanisms of such Pkp2-positive cell–cell junctions as well as medical consequences are discussed.