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      Differential expression of E-cadherin, N-cadherin and beta-catenin in proximal and distal segments of the rat nephron.

      , 1 , 1 , 2

      BMC Physiology

      BioMed Central

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          The classical cadherins such as E- and N-cadherin are Ca 2+-dependent cell adhesion molecules that play important roles in the development and maintenance of renal epithelial polarity. Recent studies have shown that a variety of cadherins are present in the kidney and are differentially expressed in various segments of the nephron. However, the interpretation of these findings has been complicated by the fact that the various studies focused on different panels of cadherins and utilized different species. Moreover, since only a few of the previous studies focused on the rat, information regarding the expression and localization of renal cadherins in this important species is lacking. In the present study, we have employed dual immunofluorescent labeling procedures that utilized specific antibodies against either E- or N-cadherin, along with antibodies that target markers for specific nephron segments, to characterize the patterns of cadherin expression in frozen sections of adult rat kidney.


          The results showed that N-cadherin is the predominant cadherin in the proximal tubule, but is essentially absent in other nephron segments. By contrast, E-cadherin is abundant in the distal tubule, collecting duct and most medullary segments, but is present only at very low levels in the proximal tubule. Additional results revealed different patterns of N-cadherin labeling along various segments of the proximal tubule. The S1 and S2 segments exhibit a fine threadlike pattern of labeling at the apical cell surface, whereas the S3 segment show intense labeling at the lateral cell-cell contacts.


          These results indicate that E- and N-cadherin are differentially expressed in the proximal and distal tubules of rat kidney and they raise the possibility that differences in cadherin expression and localization may contribute to the differences in the susceptibility of various nephron segments to renal pathology or nephrotoxic injury.

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          Most cited references 68

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          Wnt signaling: a common theme in animal development.

           K. Cadigan,  R Nusse (1997)
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            Phylogenetic analysis of the cadherin superfamily allows identification of six major subfamilies besides several solitary members.

            Cadherins play an important role in specific cell-cell adhesion events. Their expression appears to be tightly regulated during development and each tissue or cell type shows a characteristic pattern of cadherin molecules. Inappropriate regulation of their expression levels or functionality has been observed in human malignancies, in many cases leading to aggravated cancer cell invasion and metastasis. The cadherins form a superfamily with at least six subfamilies, which can be distinguished on the basis of protein domain composition, genomic structure, and phylogenetic analysis of the protein sequences. These subfamilies comprise classical or type-I cadherins, atypical or type-II cadherins, desmocollins, desmogleins, protocadherins and Flamingo cadherins. In addition, several cadherins clearly occupy isolated positions in the cadherin superfamily (cadherin-13, -15, -16, -17, Dachsous, RET, FAT, MEGF1 and most invertebrate cadherins). We suggest a different evolutionary origin of the protocadherin and Flamingo cadherin genes versus the genes encoding desmogleins, desmocollins, classical cadherins, and atypical cadherins. The present phylogenetic analysis may accelerate the functional investigation of the whole cadherin superfamily by allowing focused research of prototype cadherins within each subfamily. Copyright 2000 Academic Press.
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              Molecular and functional analysis of cadherin-based adherens junctions.

              Adherens junctions are specialized forms of cadherin-based adhesive contacts important for tissue organization in developing and adult organisms. Cadherins form protein complexes with cytoplasmic proteins (catenins) that convert the specific, homophilic-binding capacity of the extracellular domain into stable cell adhesion. The extracellular domains of cadherins form parallel dimers that possess intrinsic homophilic-binding activity. Cytoplasmic interactions can influence the function of the ectodomain by a number of potential mechanisms, including redistribution of binding sites into clusters, providing cytoskeletal anchorage, and mediating physiological regulation of cadherin function. Adherens junctions are likely to serve specific, specialized functions beyond the basic adhesive process. These functions include coupling cytoskeletal force generation to strongly adherent sites on the cell surface and the regulation of intracellular signaling events.

                Author and article information

                BMC Physiol
                BMC Physiology
                BioMed Central (London )
                17 May 2004
                : 4
                : 10
                [1 ]Department of Pharmacology, Midwestern University, 555 31 st Street, Downers Grove, IL 60515, USA
                [2 ]Department of Biomedical Sciences, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, 4170 City Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19131, USA
                Copyright © 2004 Prozialeck et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article: verbatim copying and redistribution of this article are permitted in all media for any purpose, provided this notice is preserved along with the article's original URL.
                Research Article

                Anatomy & Physiology


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