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J Comp Neurol. 2012 May 1;520(7):1509-31. doi: 10.1002/cne.22808.

Expression of delta-protocadherins in the spinal cord of the chicken embryo.

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Institute of Anatomy I, University of Jena School of Medicine, Jena University Hospital, D-07743 Jena, Germany.


Protocadherins constitute the largest subfamily of cadherin genes and are widely expressed in the nervous system. In the present study, we cloned eight members of the delta-protocadherin subfamily of cadherins (Pcdh1, Pcdh7, Pcdh8, Pcdh9, Pcdh10, Pcdh17, Pcdh18, and Pcdh19) from the chicken, and investigated their expression in the developing chicken spinal cord by in situ hybridization. Our results showed that each of the investigated delta-protocadherins exhibits a spatially restricted and temporally regulated pattern of expression. Pcdh1, Pcdh8, Pcdh18, and Pcdh19 are expressed in restricted dorsoventral domains of the neuroepithelial layer at early developmental stages (E2.5–E4). In the differentiating mantle layer, specific expression profiles are observed for all eight delta-protocadherins along the dorsoventral, mediolateral, and rostrocaudal dimensions at intermediate stages of development (E6–E10). Expression profiles are especially diverse in the motor column, where different pools of motor neurons exhibit signal for subsets of delta-protocadherins. In the dorsal root ganglion, subpopulations of cells express combinations of Pcdh1, Pcdh7, Pcdh8, Pcdh9, Pcdh10, and Pcdh17. The ventral boundary cap cells are positive for Pcdh7, Pcdh9, and Pcdh10. Signals for Pcdh8, Pcdh18, and Pcdh19 are found in the meninges. Surrounding tissues, such as the notochord, dermomyotome, and sclerotome also exhibit differential expression patterns. The highly regulated spatiotemporal expression patterns of delta-protocadherins suggest that they have multiple and diverse functions during development of the spinal cord and its surrounding tissues.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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