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Dev Biol. 2000 Sep 1;225(1):59-78.

Different isoforms of fasciclin II play distinct roles in the guidance of neuronal migration during insect embryogenesis.

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  • 1Department of Cell and Developmental Biology L-215, Oregon Health Sciences University, 3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland, Oregon, 97201, USA.


During the formation of the enteric nervous system (ENS) of the moth Manduca sexta, identified populations of neurons and glial cells participate in precisely timed waves of migration. The cell adhesion receptor fasciclin II is expressed in the developing ENS and is required for normal migration. Previously, we identified two isoforms of Manduca fasciclin II (MFas II), a glycosyl phosphatidylinositol-linked isoform (GPI-MFas II) and a transmembrane isoform (TM-MFas II). Using RNA and antibody probes, we found that these two isoforms were expressed in cell type-specific patterns: GPI-MFas II was expressed by glial cells and newly generated neurons, while TM-MFas II was confined to differentiating neurons. The expression of each isoform also corresponded to the motile state of the different cell types: GPI-MFas II was detected on tightly adherent or slowly spreading cells, while TM-MFas II was expressed by actively migrating neurons and was localized to their most motile regions. Manipulations of each isoform in embryo culture showed that they played distinct roles: whereas GPI-MFas II acted strictly as an adhesion molecule, TM-MFas II promoted the motility of the EP cells as well as maintaining fasciculation with their pathways. These results indicate that precisely regulated patterns of isoform expression govern the functions of fasciclin II within the developing nervous system.

Copyright 2000 Academic Press.

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