The DSC2 gene provides instructions for making a protein called desmocollin-2. This protein is found in many tissues, although it appears to be particularly important in the heart muscle and skin. Desmocollin-2 is a major component of specialized structures called desmosomes. These structures help hold neighboring cells together, which provides strength and stability to tissues. Desmosomes may also be involved in other critical cell functions, including chemical signaling pathways, the process by which cells mature to perform specific functions (differentiation), and the self-destruction of cells (apoptosis).
Health Conditions Related to Genetic Changes
Keratoderma with woolly hair
At least one mutation in the DSC2 gene has been found to cause a form of keratoderma with woolly hair classified as type III. It is characterized by thick, calloused skin on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet (palmoplantar keratoderma); coarse, dry, fine, and tightly curled hair; and a potentially life-threatening form of heart disease called arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC).
The known mutation, which is written as 1841delG, deletes one DNA building block (base pair) from the DSC2 gene. The resulting abnormal version of the desmocollin-2 protein alters the structure of desmosomes, preventing cells from attaching to one another effectively. Researchers suspect that the impaired connections between cells make the skin, hair, and heart muscle more fragile. Over time, as these tissues are exposed to mechanical stress (for example, friction on the surface of the skin or the constant contraction and relaxation of the heart muscle), they become damaged and can no longer function normally. This mechanism probably underlies the skin, hair, and heart problems that occur in keratoderma with woolly hair type III. Studies suggest that abnormal cell signaling may also contribute to cardiomyopathy in people with this condition.
Several other mutations in the DSC2 gene cause ARVC without palmoplantar keratoderma or woolly hair. It is unclear why some mutations in this gene affect the skin and hair, while others do not.More About This Health Condition
Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy
MedlinePlus Genetics provides information about Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathyMore About This Health Condition
Other Names for This Gene
- cadherin family member 2
- desmocollin-2 isoform Dsc2a preproprotein
- desmocollin-2 isoform Dsc2b preproprotein
- desmosomal glycoprotein II/III
Additional Information & Resources
Tests Listed in the Genetic Testing Registry
Scientific Articles on PubMed
Catalog of Genes and Diseases from OMIM
- De Bortoli M, Beffagna G, Bauce B, Lorenzon A, Smaniotto G, Rigato I, Calore M, Li Mura IE, Basso C, Thiene G, Lanfranchi G, Danieli GA, Nava A, Rampazzo A. The p.A897KfsX4 frameshift variation in desmocollin-2 is not a causative mutation in arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy. Eur J Hum Genet. 2010 Jul;18(7):776-82. doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2010.19. Epub 2010 Mar 3. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
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- Simpson MA, Mansour S, Ahnood D, Kalidas K, Patton MA, McKenna WJ, Behr ER, Crosby AH. Homozygous mutation of desmocollin-2 in arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy with mild palmoplantar keratoderma and woolly hair. Cardiology. 2009;113(1):28-34. doi: 10.1159/000165696. Epub 2008 Oct 29. Citation on PubMed
- Syrris P, Ward D, Evans A, Asimaki A, Gandjbakhch E, Sen-Chowdhry S, McKenna WJ. Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy associated with mutations in the desmosomal gene desmocollin-2. Am J Hum Genet. 2006 Nov;79(5):978-84. doi: 10.1086/509122. Epub 2006 Sep 27. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central