Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 379, Issue 1, pp 5–12 | Cite as

Plakophilins and their roles in diseased states

  • Ilse HofmannEmail author


Tissue homeostasis is maintained by several cellular mechanisms and an imbalance may lead to diseased states. Here, the plakophilins 1, 2 and 3 operate as structural components and stabilize desmosomal cell-cell contacts. In their non-junctional states, they serve as regulators of signaling programs and control varied cellular processes that range from transcription, mRNA abundance, protein synthesis, growth, proliferation, migration to invasion and tumor development. Accordingly, mutations in plakophilins 1 and 2 lead to skin or heart diseases. Corresponding to their strong impact on tissue homeostasis, the expression of plakophilins is specifically deregulated in various cancer types and can be correlated with patients’ survival. However, our understanding on how plakophilins contribute to tumor development, progression and metastasis in a given tumor is still in its infancy and further in-depth studies using patient-derived data together with in vitro data and animal models are required.


Plakophilin (PKP) Desmosome Non-junctional state Inherited disease Cancer 



I thank Werner Franke for his long-lasting and generous support that fostered my development as an independent researcher.

Funding information

Funding by the German Cancer Aid (107861, 109248) and the “Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft” (HO2455/3-1) is greatly acknowledged.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Vascular Oncology and Metastasis, DKFZ-ZMBH AllianceGerman Cancer Research CenterHeidelbergGermany
  2. 2.Department of Vascular Biology and Tumor Angiogenesis, European Center for Angioscience (ECAS), Medical Faculty MannheimHeidelberg UniversityMannheimGermany
  3. 3.Genomics and Proteomics Core Facility Unit AntibodiesGerman Cancer Research CenterHeidelbergGermany

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