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DSC2 gene

desmocollin 2

Normal Function

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 cardiomyopathy

More About This Health Condition

Other Names for This Gene

  • ARVD11
  • cadherin family member 2
  • CDHF2
  • desmocollin-2 isoform Dsc2a preproprotein
  • desmocollin-2 isoform Dsc2b preproprotein
  • desmosomal glycoprotein II/III
  • DG2
  • DSC3

Additional Information & Resources

Tests Listed in the Genetic Testing Registry

Scientific Articles on PubMed

Gene and Variant Databases


  • 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
  • Gehmlich K, Syrris P, Peskett E, Evans A, Ehler E, Asimaki A, Anastasakis A, Tsatsopoulou A, Vouliotis AI, Stefanadis C, Saffitz JE, Protonotarios N, McKenna WJ. Mechanistic insights into arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy caused by desmocollin-2 mutations. Cardiovasc Res. 2011 Apr 1;90(1):77-87. doi: 10.1093/cvr/cvq353. Epub 2010 Nov 9. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Heuser A, Plovie ER, Ellinor PT, Grossmann KS, Shin JT, Wichter T, Basson CT, Lerman BB, Sasse-Klaassen S, Thierfelder L, MacRae CA, Gerull B. Mutant desmocollin-2 causes arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy. Am J Hum Genet. 2006 Dec;79(6):1081-8. doi: 10.1086/509044. Epub 2006 Oct 3. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Lorenzon A, Pilichou K, Rigato I, Vazza G, De Bortoli M, Calore M, Occhi G, Carturan E, Lazzarini E, Cason M, Mazzotti E, Poloni G, Mostacciuolo ML, Daliento L, Thiene G, Corrado D, Basso C, Bauce B, Rampazzo A. Homozygous Desmocollin-2 Mutations and Arrhythmogenic Cardiomyopathy. Am J Cardiol. 2015 Oct 15;116(8):1245-51. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2015.07.037. Epub 2015 Jul 28. Citation on PubMed
  • 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

The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.