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Development 1991 Jan 01;1111:159-69.
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The distribution of E-cadherin during Xenopus laevis development.

Levi G , Gumbiner B , Thiery JP .

A vast amount of experimental evidence suggests that cell surface molecules involved in cell-to-cell and/or cell-to-substrate interactions participate in the control of basic events in morphogenesis. E-cadherin is a cell adhesion molecule directly implicated in the control of Ca2(+)-dependent interactions between epithelial cells. We report here the patterns of expression of E-cadherin in developmental stages of Xenopus laevis ranging from early embryo to adult using immunofluorescence microscopy. Although its distribution shares some similarities with those of L-CAM in the chicken and E-cadherin/Uvomorulin in the mouse, the distribution of E-cadherin in Xenopus presents several peculiar and unique features. In early stages of Xenopus development, E-cadherin is not expressed. The molecule is first detectable in the ectoderm of late gastrulas (stage 13-13.5 NF). At this time both the external and the sensory layer of the nonneural ectoderm accumulate high levels of E-cadherin while the ectoderm overlying the neural plate and regions of the involuting marginal zone (IMZ) not yet internalized by the movements of gastrulation are E-cadherin-negative. Unlike most other species, endodermal cells express no or very low levels of E-cadherin up to stage 20 NF. Endodermal cells become strongly E-cadherin-positive only when a well-differentiated epithelium forms in the gut. No mesodermal structures are stained during early development. In the placodes, in contrast to other species, E-cadherin disappears very rapidly after placode thickening. During further embryonic development E-cadherin is present in the skin, the gut epithelium, the pancreas, many monostratified epithelia and most glands. Hepatocytes are stained weakly while most other tissues, including the pronephros, are negative. In the mesonephros, the Wolffian duct and some tubules are positive. During metamorphosis a profound restructuring of the body plan takes place under the control of thyroid hormones, which involves the degeneration and subsequent regeneration of several tissues such as the skin and the gut. All newly formed epithelia express high levels of E-cadherin. Surprisingly, degenerating epithelia of both skin and intestine maintain high levels of the protein even after starting to become disorganized and to degenerate. In the adult, staining is strong in the skin, the glands, the lungs, the gut epithelium and the pancreas, weak in the liver and absent from most other tissues. Our results show that the expression of E-cadherin in Xenopus is strongly correlated with the appearance of differentiated epithelia.

PubMed ID: 2015791

Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: cdh1
Antibodies: Cdh1 Ab2

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