From a Xenopus tailbud cDNA library, we obtained the cDNA for a novel cadherin which was named as XmN-cadherin (Xenopus maternally expressed neural cadherin). The cDNA consisted of 3690bp and encoded 922 amino acid residues. XmN-cadherin preserved five extracellular cadherin motifs, a single transmembrane domain, and a cytoplasmic domain, and was closely related by its sequence to R- and N-cadherin. In the adult frog, XmN-cadherin mRNA was detected strongly in ovary, testis, brain, eye, and kidney, and weakly in stomach, and intestine. In the egg, the mRNA occurred as a maternal mRNA at a relatively high level, and its level became very low by the neurula stage, then increased steadily thereafter. Dissection experiments with 8-cell stage and neurula stage embryos revealed that the maternally inherited mRNA was relatively uniformly distributed within the embryo. By a sharp contrast, whole mount in situ hybridization revealed that the zygotically expressed mRNA occurred almost exclusively in neural tissues such as brain, the anterior part of spinal cord, and the optic and otic vesicles. Thus, XmN-cadherin appears to have at least triple functions; it probably contributes in early embryos to cell-type non-specific cell adhesion, but in post-neurula embryos may be responsible for the development and/or maintenance of anterior neural tissues, and may be used in adult frog for the development and/or maintenance of neural, endodermal and reproductive organs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental Biology