Expression of Cadherin Superfamily Genes during Ferret Brain Development
Cadherins are a superfamily of Ca2+-dependent cell adhesion molecules with more than 100 members (Redies et al., 2005). They are multifunctional transmembrane glycoproteins found in several kinds of cell-cell contact, including adherens junctions. They regulate a wide variety of crucial developmental mechanisms, including cell proliferation, cell differentiation, cell-cell recognition, neurite outgrowth, synaptogenesis and angiogenesis. In this study, I cloned eighteen novel members of the classic cadherin and delta-protocadherin subgroups and investigated their expression patterns by in situ hybridization from the brain of ferret, an animal model suitable for visual cortical and cerebrovascular research. I also showed seven members of the cadherin superfamily and an intracellular binding partner of delta-protocadherins, protein phosphatase 1alpha as novel markers for developing blood vessels in the ferret brain. Some of the cadherin molecules are restricted to specific brain regions or a subset of blood vessels. The expression levels show a peak during perinatal vascular development. My results suggest that multiple cadherins, which are also involved in neurogenesis, are regulators of angiogenesis in developing vertebrate brain, supporting the idea of a common mechanism behind "neuroangiogenesis".