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Dev Biol. 2007 Oct 15;310(2):211-25. Epub 2007 Jul 6.

A role for N-cadherin in mesodermal morphogenesis during gastrulation.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49008, USA.

Abstract

Cell adhesion molecules mediate numerous developmental processes necessary for the segregation and organization of tissues. Here we show that the zebrafish biber (bib) mutant encodes a dominant allele at the N-cadherin locus. When knocked down with antisense oligonucleotides, bib mutants phenocopy parachute (pac) null alleles, demonstrating that bib is a gain-of-function mutation. The mutant phenotype disrupts normal cell-cell contacts throughout the mesoderm as well as the ectoderm. During gastrulation stages, cells of the mesodermal germ layer converge slowly; during segmentation stages, the borders between paraxial and axial tissues are irregular and somite borders do not form; later, myotomes are fused. During neurulation, the neural tube is disorganized. Although weaker, all traits present in bib mutants were found in pac mutants. When the distribution of N-cadherin mRNA was analyzed to distinguish mesodermal from neuroectodermal expression, we found that N-cadherin is strongly expressed in the yolk cell and hypoblast in the early gastrula, just preceding the appearance of the bib mesodermal defects. Only later is N-cadherin expressed in the anlage of the CNS, where it is found as a radial gradient in the forming neural plate. Hence, besides a well-established role in neural and somite morphogenesis, N-cadherin is essential for morphogenesis of the mesodermal germ layer during gastrulation.

PMID:
17826762
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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