Author: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer

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Last updated on: 29.10.2020

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Desmin is a filamentous protein that is a component of the cytoskeleton. Desmin belongs to the type 3 intermediary filaments, to which vimentin also belongs. Desmin is found both in skeletal muscles and in smooth muscles.

General information
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Desmine filaments have diameters of 8-10 nm. As a component of the cytoskeleton, desmin connects the Z-disks of the skeletal muscle fibre. In smooth muscles, it forms a network with non-muscular actin in the cytoskeleton, which is anchored together with the contractile elements of the cell at compression zones ("cytoplasmatic dense bodies"). Mutations in the desmin gene lead to progressive muscular dystrophies (desmin myopathy). The immunohistochemical detection of desmin is used in dermatopathology to differentiate tumours in which a myogenic component plays a role.

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Last updated on: 29.10.2020