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Mol Cell Neurosci. 2005 Apr;28(4):715-26.

A novel function for cadherin-11 in the regulation of motor axon elongation and fasciculation.

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  • 1INSERM U440-UPMC, Signalisation et Différenciation Cellulaires dans les Systèmes Nerveux et Musculaires, Institut du Fer à Moulin, 17 rue du Fer à Moulin, 75005 Paris, France.


We previously observed that cadherin-11, a type II cadherin, is expressed in growing motor and sensory axons in the mouse embryo. Here, we assessed its functional involvement in the regulation of axon elongation and fasciculation by evaluating the activity of a specific cadherin-11 homophilic ligand, cad11-Fc (cadherin-11 extracellular region fused to Fc fragment of IgG), on the length and organization of motor axons outgrowing from embryonic ventral spinal cord explants. Cad11-Fc substrate enhanced axon growth and prevented interactions occurring between growing axons, providing evidences for a role of cadherin-11 in the control of growth cone progression. Comparison of cadherin-11 with N-cadherin, a type I cadherin concomitantly expressed by motor axons, revealed similarities in their functional properties, including the ability to reorganize the actin cytoskeleton through interactions with catenins, but differences in their axon growth-promoting activity, arguing for subtle differences in their contributions to peripheral nerve elongation.

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