The Molecular Architecture of Hemidesmosomes as Revealed by Super-Resolution Microscopy

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Hemidesmosomes have been extensively studied by immunofluorescence microscopy, but due to its limited resolution, their precise organization remained poorly understood. We studied hemidesmosome organization in cultured keratinocytes by 2- and 3-color super-resolution microscopy. We observed that in the cell periphery, nascent hemidesmosomes are associated with individual keratin filaments and that β4 is distributed along rather than under keratin filaments. By applying innovative methods to quantify molecular distances, we demonstrate that the hemidesmosomal plaque protein plectin interacts simultaneously and asymmetrically with β4 and keratin.

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