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Histol Histopathol. 2001 Apr;16(2):563-71.

The role of gicerin, a novel cell adhesion molecule, in development, regeneration and neoplasia.

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Department of Veterinary Anatomy, Graduate School of Agricultural and Biological Sciences, Osaka Prefecture University, Japan.


Neurite outgrowth factor (NOF) is an extracellular matrix (ECM) protein in the laminin family and its ligand, gicerin, is a novel cell adhesion molecule in the immunoglobulin superfamily. Gicerin has a homophilic adhesive activity as well as a heterotypic manner to NOF. In the nervous systems, gicerin is expressed during developmental stage when neurons migrate or extend neurites to form a neural network. Gicerin promotes neurite extension and migration of embryonic neurons in vitro by its homophilic and heterophilic adhesion activities. Introduction of antigicerin antibody into early developing eyes perturbs the layer formation of neural retina. These data suggest that gicerin participates in the formation of neural tissues. Gicerin is also expressed in other non-neural tissues; in epithelia of trachea, kidney and oviduct, gicerin expression is restricted in the developmental period. In contrast, muscular tissues and endothelial cells express gicerin continuously even after maturation. Interestingly, gicerin re-appears strongly in the regenerating epithelia of trachea, kidney and oviduct, and also anti-gicerin antibody disrupts the healing process of trachea. Furthermore, gicerin and NOF are overexpressed in the chicken nephroblastomas (Wilm's tumor) and oviductal adenocarcinomas. In vitro analyses show that gicerin adhesive activities can promote binding among tumor cells and adhesion of tumor cells to NOF. A polyclonal antibody against gicerin also perturbs the re-attachment of cancer cells onto metastasizing sites. It is clear from these studies that gicerin is a potential effector for pathological tissue formation as well as for normal development.

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