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J Cell Sci. 1992 Dec;103 ( Pt 4):897-906.

N-cadherin and N-CAM in myoblast fusion: compared localisation and effect of blockade by peptides and antibodies.

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INSERM U.153, Paris, France.


The expression and distribution of two cell adhesion molecules, N-cadherin and N-CAM, at the surface of cultured leg muscle cells from 11-day-old chicken embryos were studied and compared. N-cadherin, which was expressed by fusing myoblasts, was down-regulated on old myotubes while N-CAM was still present. Both molecules, as viewed by confocal microscopy, appeared to have coaccumulated at the areas of contact between fusing myoblasts. However, immunogold electron microscopy did not reveal significant colocalization of N-cadherin and N-CAM, and their segregation after antibody-induced patching suggested the absence of direct interactions between N-cadherin and N-CAM. The role of the Ca2+ dependent cell adhesion molecule N-cadherin in myogenesis was investigated. Myoblast fusion was inhibited (1) with a synthetic peptide containing the H-A-V sequence and (2) with a monoclonal anti-N-cadherin antibody, demonstrating that N-cadherin-mediated cell adhesion is required for myoblast fusion. Under the same conditions no effect of anti-N-CAM antibodies was observed. Taken together these observations suggest that N-cadherin, acting independently from N-CAM, is a major cell adhesion molecule involved in embryonic myoblast fusion in vitro.

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