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Biol Reprod. 1996 Oct;55(4):822-7.

A comprehensive survey of the cadherins expressed in the testes of fetal, immature, and adult mice utilizing the polymerase chain reaction.

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Department of Surgery, McGill University, Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


The cadherins are a family of calcium-binding membrane glycoproteins. Most cadherins are capable of acting as cell adhesion molecules (CAMs). In order to begin a thorough analysis of the roles of these CAMs in the testis, we employed a reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) strategy to identify the cadherins expressed in this tissue at various stages of development. Oligonucleotides encoding amino acid sequences that are conserved among all of the known cadherins were used as primers in the RT-PCR, with cDNA preparations of fetal, newborn, 7-day, 21-day, and adult mouse testes employed as templates. The PCR products were subcloned into a plasmid vector and sequenced. On the basis of the nucleotide sequences of these PCR products, we have determined that five previously characterized cadherins (E-cadherin, N-cadherin, P-cadherin, K-cadherin, and OB-cadherin), as well as two novel cadherins (T1-cadherin and T2-cadherin), are expressed at various stages during testicular development. In order to determine the expression patterns of these cadherins, we ascertained the mRNA levels of each cadherin normalized to the levels of hypoxanthine phosphoribosyltransferase mRNA in fetal, newborn, 7-day, 21-day, and adult mouse testes. We observed that N-cadherin mRNA is expressed at all stages of testicular development, with maximal levels being present in the testes of 21-day-old mice. Furthermore, we found that E-, P-, K-, OB-, and T2-cadherin mRNAs are all expressed in the fetal gonad. The testicular levels of these cadherin mRNAs decreased dramatically after birth. Conversely, T1-cadherin mRNA was not detected in the fetal, newborn, and 7-day-old testes but was present in 21-day-old and adult testes. T1-cadherin levels were 10-fold higher in the testes of adult mice, compared to the levels found in the testes of 21-day-old mice. We speculate that these cadherins will be found to be intimately involved in mediating cell interactions during testicular development.

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