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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Expression of multiple cadherins and catenins in the chick optic tectum.

Cadherins form a large family of homophilic cell adhesion molecules that are involved in numerous aspects of neural development. The best-studied neural cadherin, N-cadherin, is concentrated at synapses made by retinal axons in the chick optic tectum and is required for the arborization of retinal axons in their target (retinorecipient) laminae. By analogy, other cadherins might mediate arborization or synaptogenesis in other tectal laminae. Here we consider which cadherins are expressed in tectum, which cells express them, and how their expression is regulated. First, using N-cadherin as a model, we show that synaptic input regulates both cadherin gene expression and the subcellular distribution of cadherin protein. Second, we demonstrate that N-, R-, and T-cadherin are each expressed in distinct laminar patterns during retinotectal synaptogenesis and that N- and R- are enriched in nonoverlapping synaptic subsets. Third, we show that over 20 cadherin superfamily genes are expressed in the tectum during the time that synapses are forming and that many of them are expressed in restricted groups of cells. Finally, we report that both beta-catenin and gamma-catenin (plakoglobin), cytoplasmic proteins required for cadherin signaling, are enriched at synapses and associated with N-cadherin. However, beta- and gamma-catenins are differentially distributed and regulated, and form mutually exclusive complexes. This result suggests that cadherin-based specificity involves multiple cadherin-dependent signaling pathways as well as multiple cadherins.[1]


  1. Expression of multiple cadherins and catenins in the chick optic tectum. Miskevich, F., Zhu, Y., Ranscht, B., Sanes, J.R. Mol. Cell. Neurosci. (1998) [Pubmed]
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