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Dev Biol. 1998 Oct 1;202(1):85-102.

N-cadherin/catenin-mediated morphoregulation of somite formation.

Author information

1
Department of Cell Biology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Stratford, NJ 08084, USA. linaskkk@umdnj.edu

Abstract

Somitogenesis during early stages in the chick and mouse embryo was examined in relation to N-cadherin-mediated adhesion. Previous studies indicated that N-cadherin localizes to the somite regions during their formation. Those observations were extended to include a spatiotemporal immunohistochemical analyses of beta-catenin and alpha-catenin, as well as a more detailed study of N-cadherin, during segmentation, compaction, and compartmentalization of the somite. N-cadherin and the catenins appear early within the segmental plate and are expressed as small patch-like foci throughout this tissue. The small foci of immunostaining coalesce into larger clusters of N-cadherin/catenin-expressing regions. The clusters subsequently coalesce into a region of centrally localized cells that express N-cadherin/catenins at their apical surfaces. The multiple clusters are spaced wide apart in the anterior segmental plates that form the first 6 somite pairs, as contrasted to segmental plates that form somites 7 and beyond. To examine the functional significance of N-cadherin, segmental plates were exposed to antibodies that perturb N-cadherin-mediated adhesion in the chick embryo. The multiple, anomalous somites that result in these experiments indicate that each N-cadherin/catenin-expressing cluster can give rise to a somitic structure. beta-Catenin involvement in somitogenesis suggests a role for Wnt-mediated signaling. Embryos treated with LiCl also show induction of similar anomalous somites indicating further the possibility that Wnt-mediated signaling may be involved in the clustering event. It is suggested that beta-catenin serves to initiate the adhesion process which is spread then by N-cadherin. Later during compartmentalization, N-cadherin/catenins remain expressed by the myotome compartment. Taken together, these results suggest that the Ca2+-dependent cell adhesion molecule N-cadherin and the intracellular catenins are important in segmentation and formation of the somite and myotome compartment. It is proposed that the N-cadherin-mediated adhesion process may serve as a common, evolutionarily conserved, link in the differentiation pathways of skeletal and cardiac muscle.

PMID:
9758705
DOI:
10.1006/dbio.1998.9025
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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