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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1983 Jul;80(14):4384-8.

Early epochal maps of two different cell adhesion molecules.


N-CAM, the neural cell-adhesion molecule, has previously been found to be expressed during several epochs of development and function, first as an early marker in embryo-genesis, later during organogenesis, and finally in adult life. L-CAM, the liver cell-adhesion molecule, has now been localized in embryonic and adult tissues of the chicken by fluorescent antibody techniques. In the early embryonic epoch, L-CAM and N-CAM appeared in epiblastic and hypoblastic tissues. L-CAM was distributed thereafter across all three germ layers. By the onset of neurulation, however, L-CAM disappeared in the region of the neural plate and N-CAM increased in amount in that region. L-CAM appeared strongly on all budding endodermal structures (liver, pancreas, lung, thyroid, parathyroid, thymus, and bursa of Fabricius) whereas N-CAM appeared most strongly in the neural plate, neural tube, and in cardiac mesoderm but was not found in endodermal derivatives. In placodes, both L-CAM and N-CAM were present until the formation of definitive neural structures, at which time L-CAM disappeared. In kidney precursors, the two CAMs followed a complex reciprocal pattern of appearance and disappearance. For the most part, however, the distributions of the two molecules did not overlap during organogenesis. Like N-CAM, L-CAM persisted in a distinctive pattern of expression in adult tissues. During embryonic development, the two different CAMs were distributed on tissues derived from more than two-thirds of the early embryonic surface. Interpretation of maps summarizing CAM distributions over a defined developmental epoch suggested a key role for both L-CAM and N-CAM in embryonic induction. Consistent with this interpretation and with the fact that the continuity of germ layers is lost when organ rudiments are formed, neither of the CAMs was limited in distribution to a single germ layer. The regions of the early epochal maps that lacked both L-CAM and N-CAM comprised some portions of the splanchnopleure and somatopleure. Certain adult tissues that derive from this lateral plate mesoderm such as smooth muscle also lacked L-CAM and N-CAM. Such observations suggest that at least one more CAM may exist in these and similarly derived tissues.

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