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Development April 1, 2009; 136 (8): 1327-38.

N- and E-cadherins in Xenopus are specifically required in the neural and non-neural ectoderm, respectively, for F-actin assembly and morphogenetic movements.

Nandadasa S , Tao Q , Menon NR , Heasman J , Wylie C .

Transmembrane cadherins are calcium-dependent intercellular adhesion molecules. Recently, they have also been shown to be sites of actin assembly during adhesive contact formation. However, the roles of actin assembly on transmembrane cadherins during development are not fully understood. We show here, using the developing ectoderm of the Xenopus embryo as a model, that F-actin assembly is a primary function of both N-cadherin in the neural ectoderm and E-cadherin in the non-neural (epidermal) ectoderm, and that each cadherin is essential for the characteristic morphogenetic movements of these two tissues. However, depletion of N-cadherin and E-cadherin did not cause dissociation in these tissues at the neurula stage, probably owing to the expression of C-cadherin in each tissue. Depletion of each of these cadherins is not rescued by the other, nor by the expression of C-cadherin, which is expressed in both tissues. One possible reason for this is that each cadherin is expressed in a different domain of the cell membrane. These data indicate the combinatorial nature of cadherin function, the fact that N- and E-cadherin play primary roles in F-actin assembly in addition to roles in cell adhesion, and that this function is specific to individual cadherins. They also show how cell adhesion and motility can be combined in morphogenetic tissue movements that generate the form and shape of the embryonic organs.

PubMed ID: 19279134
PMC ID: PMC2687464
Article link: Development
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: acta1 actl6a cad cald1 cdh1 cdh2 cdh3 ctnnb1 mlc1 myc myl12b myl9 odc1
Antibodies: Cdh1 Ab1 Cdh3 Ab1 Ctnnb1 Ab2
Morpholinos: cdh1 MO1 cdh2 MO1

Article Images: [+] show captions
References [+] :
Bronner-Fraser, Effects of antibodies against N-cadherin and N-CAM on the cranial neural crest and neural tube. 1992, Pubmed