Mouse αN-catenin: Two isoforms, specific expression in the nervous system, and chromosomal localization of the gene

Naoshige Uchida, Kenji Shimamura, Seiji Miyatani, Neal G. Copeland, Debra J. Gilbert, Nancy A. Jenkins, Masatoshi Takeichi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


We isolated cDNAs encoding mouse homologues of chicken αN-catenin, a protein associated with the cadherin cell adhesion molecules, and identified two isoforms of this protein. One isoform (αN-catenin I) was identical to the chicken αN-catenin that had previously been identified, and the other (αN-catenin II) differed in having a 48-amino acid insertion in its C- terminal region. The ratio of the two isoforms changed during development; the isoform II was more abundant than the other in earlier embryonic stages, whereas isoform I was predominant in the adult stage. Immunostaining and in situ hybridization analyses revealed that the mouse αN-catenin was expressed almost exclusively in the nervous system. During embryogenesis, αN-catenin was first detected in nerve fibers of cranial and dorsal root ganglia and also in early neurons in the neural tube, including motor neurons. Thereafter, the expression of this protein occurred in various regions of the nervous system. Neurons, in general, strongly expressed αN-catenin, especially in their axonal fibers. On the other hand, the expression in glial cells varied with the region. For example, the ependymal layers of the neural tube generally expressed low levels of αN-catenin except at the inner limiting membrane facing the central canal, whereas the floor and roof plate exhibited strong expression of this protein at various portions of the central nervous system. The choroid plexus was devoid of αN-catenin. In the αN-catenin-negative regions, another subtype of α-catenin, αE-catenin, was expressed. Concerning nonneural tissues, αN-catenin was expressed only in some local mesenchymal cell clusters and the lens fibers. These results suggest that αN-catenin plays specific roles in neural cell-cell interactions. We also localized the mouse αN-catenin gene to chromosome 6.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-85
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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