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Dev Immunol. 1994; 3(4): 239–246.
PMCID: PMC2275938

CD44 in Differentiated Embryonic Stem Cells: Surface Expression and Transcripts Encoding Multiple Variants


Expression of the surface-adhesion molecule CD44 was investigated during the in vitro differentiation of the embryonic stem (ES) cell line D3. By immunofluorescence analysis, totipotent, undifferentiated ES cells did not show surface expression of CD44, although two transcripts of approximately 1.6 and 3.3 kb were detected on Northern blots. Following 1 week of differentiation in either suspension or substrate-attached cultures, CD44 appeared on the surface of some D3 cells, and synthesis of an additional 4.5 kb mRNA species was detected on Northern blots. At this stage, at least three distinct transcripts encoding CD44 variants were induced within the cultures, resulting from alternative splicing of additional exons in the variable domains of CD44. From PCR analysis, they all appeared to contain the variable exon v10, and two of them in addition contained v6. Taken together, these results suggest that CD44 may play a role in cell migration and adhesion in the early development of the mouse embryo.

Keywords: CD44, embryonic stem cells, alternative splicing, adhesion molecules

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