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Dev Biol. 1998 Dec 15;204(2):508-24.

Neural crest-specific and general expression of distinct metalloprotease-disintegrins in early Xenopus laevis development.

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Cellular Biochemistry and Biophysics Program, Sloan-Kettering Institute, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, 10021, USA.


Metalloprotease-disintegrins are a family of membrane-anchored glycoproteins that have been implicated in diverse cellular processes, including fertilization and myoblast fusion, release of TNFalpha from the plasma membrane, and neurogenesis. Here we report the cloning of cDNAs encoding three full-length (xMDC9, xMDC11b, and xMDC13), and one partial (xMDC11a) metalloprotease-disintegrin from the amphibian Xenopus laevis, and the analysis of their expression during early X. laevis development and in adult tissues. The most notable finding was the highly localized and specific expression pattern of xmdc11a at the tailbud stage in the cranial neural crest and in a subset of neural tube cells in the trunk region. In contrast, expression of the closely related xmdc11b was not detectable during the early stages of X. laevis development, and remained low in the adult tissues examined here. Distinct expression patterns were also observed for two other highly related X. laevis genes, xmdc13 and adam13 (Alfandari et al., 1997). While adam13 is expressed in the somitic mesoderm and in neural crest cells, but not in adult testis, xmdc13 expression is low and ubiquitous in the developing embryo, but is clearly present in adult testis. Finally, xmdc9, the putative orthologue of human and mouse mdc9, was found at all stages of development, and in all tissues examined, suggesting a function that may be utilized by most or all cells. The noteworthy features of these four xmdc genes and the implications of their distinct spatial and temporal expression patterns are discussed.

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