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Mol Cell Biol. 2002 Jul;22(13):4760-70.

The cell adhesion molecule M-cadherin is not essential for muscle development and regeneration.

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Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Technical University of Braunschweig, 38106 Braunschweig, Germany.


M-cadherin is a classical calcium-dependent cell adhesion molecule that is highly expressed in developing skeletal muscle, satellite cells, and cerebellum. Based on its expression pattern and observations in cell culture, it has been postulated that M-cadherin may be important for the fusion of myoblasts to form myotubes, the correct localization and function of satellite cells during muscle regeneration, and the specialized architecture of adhering junctions in granule cells of cerebellar glomeruli. In order to investigate the potential roles of M-cadherin in vivo, we generated a null mutation in mice. Mutant mice were viable and fertile and showed no gross developmental defects. In particular, the skeletal musculature appeared essentially normal. Moreover, muscle lesions induced by necrosis were efficiently repaired in mutant mice, suggesting that satellite cells are present, can be activated, and are able to form new myofibers. This was also confirmed by normal growth and fusion potential of mutant satellite cells cultured in vitro. In the cerebellum of M-cadherin-lacking mutants, typical contactus adherens junctions were present and similar in size and numbers to the equivalent junctions in wild-type animals. However, the adhesion plaques in the cerebellum of these mutants appeared to contain elevated levels of N-cadherin compared to wild-type animals. Taken together, these observations suggest that M-cadherin in the mouse serves no absolutely required function during muscle development and regeneration and is not essential for the formation of specialized cell contacts in the cerebellum. It seems that N-cadherin or other cadherins can largely compensate for the lack of M-cadherin.

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