delta-catenin is a nervous system-specific adherens junction protein which undergoes dynamic relocalization during development

J Comp Neurol. 2000 May 1;420(2):261-76.


delta-catenin is a member of the Armadillo repeat family and component of the adherens junction discovered in a two-hybrid assay as a bona fide interactor with presenilin-1 (Zhou et al., [1997], NeuroReport 8:2085-2090), a protein which carries mutations that cause familial Alzheimer's disease. The expression pattern of delta-catenin was mapped between embryonic day 10 (E10) and adulthood by Northern blots, in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry in the mouse. In development, delta-catenin is dynamically regulated with respect to its site of expression. It is first expressed within proliferating neuronal progenitor cells of the neuroepithelium, becomes down-regulated during neuronal migration, and is later reexpressed in the dendritic compartment of postmitotic neurons. In the mouse, delta-catenin mRNA is expressed by E10, increases and peaks at postnatal day (P)7, with lower levels in adulthood. In the developing neocortex, delta-catenin mRNA is strongly expressed in the proliferative ventricular zone and the developing cortical plate, yet is conspicuously less prominent in the intermediate zone, which contains migrating cortical neurons, delta-catenin protein forms a honeycomb pattern in the neuroepithelium by labeling the cell periphery in a typical adherens junction pattern. By E18, delta-catenin expression shifts primarily to nascent apical dendrites, a pattern that continues through adulthood. The dynamic relocalization of delta-catenin expression during development, taken together with previously published data which described a role for delta-catenin in cell motility (Lu et al., [1999] J. Cell. Biol. 144:519-532), suggests the hypothesis that delta-catenin regulation is closely linked to neuronal migration and may play a role in the establishment of mature dendritic relationships in the neuropil.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Armadillo Domain Proteins
  • Catenins
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Central Nervous System / cytology
  • Central Nervous System / embryology*
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / analysis*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / genetics*
  • Delta Catenin
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Phosphoproteins
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Telencephalon / cytology
  • Telencephalon / embryology
  • Telencephalon / metabolism
  • Tight Junctions / metabolism*
  • Tight Junctions / ultrastructure


  • Armadillo Domain Proteins
  • Catenins
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Phosphoproteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Delta Catenin