Members of the cadherin family of cell adhesion molecules are thought to be crucial regulators of tissue patterning and organogenesis. During pancreatic ontogeny N-cadherin is initially expressed in the pancreatic mesenchyme and later in pancreatic endoderm. Analysis of N-cadherin-deficient mice revealed that these mice suffer from selective agenesis of the dorsal pancreas. Further analysis demonstrated that the mechanism for the lack of a dorsal pancreas involves an essential function of N-cadherin as a survival factor in the dorsal pancreatic mesenchyme.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.