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EMBO J. 1994 Sep 15;13(18):4212-22.

Algal-CAMs: isoforms of a cell adhesion molecule in embryos of the alga Volvox with homology to Drosophila fasciclin I.

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  • 1Lehrstuhl Biochemie I, Universit├Ąt Regensburg, Germany.


Proof that plants possess homologs of animal adhesion proteins is lacking. In this paper we describe the generation of monoclonal antibodies that interfere with cell-cell contacts in the 4-cell embryo of the multicellular alga Volvox carteri, resulting in a hole between the cells. The number of following cell divisions is reduced and the cell division pattern is altered drastically. Antibodies given at a later stage of embryogenesis specifically inhibit inversion of the embryo, a morphogenetic movement that turns the embryo inside out. Immunofluorescence microscopy localizes the antigen (Algal-CAM) at cell contact sites of the developing embryo. Algal-CAM is a protein with a three-domain structure: an N-terminal extensin-like domain characteristic for plant cell walls and two repeats with homology to fasciclin I, a cell adhesion molecule involved in the neuronal development of Drosophila. Alternatively spliced variants of Algal-CAM mRNA were detected that are produced under developmental control. Thus, Algal-CAM is the first plant homolog of animal adhesion proteins.

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