Cell and tissue research

Ultrastructural changes in endometrial desmosomes of desmoglein 2 mutant mice.

PMID 29938327


The intercellular binding of desmosomal junctions is mediated by cadherins of the desmoglein (Dsg) and desmocollin (Dsc) type. Dsg2 mutant mice with deletion of a substantial segment of the extracellular EC1-EC2 domain, which is believed to participate in homo- and heterophilic desmosomal cadherin interactions, develop cardiac fibrosis and ventricular dilation. Widening of the intercellular cleft and complete intercalated disc ruptures can be observed in the hearts of these mice. Since a reduced litter size of homozygous Dsg2 mutant mice was noted and a functional correlation between desmosomes and embryo implantation has been deduced from animal studies, we looked for an alteration of desmosomes in uterine endometrial epithelium. Shape and number of desmosomes as well as the expression of Dsg2 and the desmosomal plaque protein desmoplakin (Dsp) were investigated by electron microscopy and immunohistochemistry in 12 oestrous-dated mice (7 wild type and 5 homozygous Dsg2 mutant mice) at the age of 9-17 weeks. The immunohistochemical detection of Dsg2 was diminished in the mutants and the number of desmosomes was significantly reduced as revealed by electron microscopy. In addition, the intercellular desmosomal space measured in electron micrographs was considerably widened in the Dsg2 mutants. The increased intercellular spacing can be explained by the partial deletion of the extracellular EC1-EC2 domain of Dsg2. Whether these changes explain the reduced number of offspring of homozygous Dsg2 mutant mice remains to be further investigated.