Expression of the adhesion molecules L1, N-CAM and J1/tenascin during development of the murine small intestine

Rainer Probstmeier, Rudolf Martini, Roland Tacke, Melitta Schachner

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43 Scopus citations


We have previously studied the immunohisto-logical localization of the three adhesion molecules L1, N-CAM and J1/tenascin in adult mouse small intestine and shown that L1 expression in epithelial crypt cells underlies the adhesion of these cells to one another [63]. To obtain further insight into the functional roles of L1, N-CAM and J1/tenascin in this organ we studied their expression starting at embryonic day 14 during embryonic and early postnatal morphogenesis and during epithelial cell migration in the adult. Expression of L1 was restricted to neural cells until approximately postnatal day 5, when L1 started to be detectable on crypt but not on villus cells, predominantly on the basolateral membrane infoldings. As in brain, L1-specific mRNA was approximately 6 kb in size. L1 from intestine appears to differ from the brain-derived equivalent in possessing a higher level of glycosylation. N-CAM was detectable from embryonic day 14 onward in neural and also in mesenchymal cells. Expression by smooth muscle cells decreased during development. In the villus core, N-CAM was strongly detectable at contact sites between smooth muscle cells forming the cellular scaffold of the villus. From embryonic day 14 onward, N-CAM appeared in both 180- and 140-kDa forms. J1/tenascin was present in both neural and mesenchymal cells from embryonic day 14 onward. Starting at embryonic day 17, J1/tenascin appeared concentrated at the boundary between mesenchyme and epithelium in an increasing gradient from the crypt base to the villus top. From embryonic day 14 onward J1/tenascin consisted of the 190-and 220-kDa components. J1/tenascin from intestine differed from brain-derived J1 in its carbohydrate composition. These observations show that the three adhesion molecules are expressed by distinct cell populations and may serve as cell-type-specific markers in pathologically altered intestinal tissue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-55
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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