Send to

Choose Destination
Dev Biol. 1992 Oct;153(2):291-301.

Effects of antibodies against N-cadherin and N-CAM on the cranial neural crest and neural tube.

Author information

Developmental Biology Center, University of California, Irvine 92717.


We have examined the distribution and function of the defined cell adhesion molecules, N-cadherin and N-CAM, in the emigration of cranial neural crest cells from the neural tube in vivo. By immunocytochemical analysis, both N-cadherin and N-CAM were detected on the cranial neural folds prior to neural tube closure. After closure of the neural tube, presumptive cranial neural crest cells within the dorsal aspect of the neural tube had bright N-CAM and weak N-cadherin immunoreactivity. By the 10- to 11-somite stage, N-cadherin was prominent on all neural tube cells with the exception of the dorsal-most cells, which had little or no detectable immunoreactivity. N-CAM, but not N-cadherin, was observed on some migrating neural crest cells after their departure from the cranial neural tube. To examine the functional significance of these molecules, perturbation experiments were performed by injecting antibodies against N-CAM or N-cadherin into the cranial mesenchyme adjacent to the midbrain. Fab' fragments or whole IgGs of monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies against N-CAM caused abnormalities in the cranial neural tube and neural crest. Predominantly observed defects included neural crest cells in ectopic locations, both within and external to the neural tube, and mildly deformed neural tubes containing some dissociating cells. A monoclonal antibody against N-cadherin also disrupted cranial development, with the major defect being grossly distorted neural tubes and some ectopic neural crest cells outside of the neural tube. In contrast, nonblocking N-CAM antibodies and control IgGs had few effects. Embryos appeared to be sensitive to the N-CAM and N-cadherin antibodies for a limited developmental period from the neural fold to the 9-somite stage, with older embryos no longer displaying defects after antibody injection. These results suggest that the cell adhesion molecules N-CAM and N-cadherin are important for the normal integrity of the cranial neural tube and for the emigration of neural crest cells. Because cell-matrix interactions also are required for proper emigration of cranial neural crest cells, the results suggest that the balance between cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesion may be critical for this process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center