M-cadherin and beta-catenin participate in differentiation of rat satellite cells

Eur J Cell Biol. 2007 Feb;86(2):99-109. doi: 10.1016/j.ejcb.2006.11.004. Epub 2007 Jan 11.


Cadherins belong to a large family of membrane glycoprotein adhesion receptors that mediate homophilic, calcium-dependent cell adhesion. During myogenesis, cadherins are involved in initial cell-to-cell recognition; and it has also been suggested that they play a role in the initiation of myoblast fusion into multinuclear myotubes. One of the members of the cadherin family, M-cadherin, has been detected during embryogenesis in myogenic cells of somitic origin and in adult muscles. We investigated the distribution and function of M-cadherin and beta-catenin during differentiation of myoblasts in primary cultures of rat satellite cells. We found that M-cadherin was accumulated at the areas of contact between fusing myoblasts and that it colocalized with beta-catenin. Moreover, beta-catenin colocalized with actin in pre-fusing myoblasts. We show that myoblast differentiation is accompanied by an increase in the amounts of M-cadherin and beta-catenin both at the mRNA and the protein level. Flow cytometry analysis showed that M-cadherin expression was highest in fusing myoblasts. In addition, an antibody specific for the extracellular domain of M-cadherin inhibited the fusion of cultured myoblasts. These data suggest that regulation of the M-cadherin level plays an important role in the differentiation of satellite cells and in myoblast fusion in primary cultures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cadherins / physiology*
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Male
  • Muscle Development / physiology
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / cytology
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Satellite Cells, Skeletal Muscle / cytology*
  • Satellite Cells, Skeletal Muscle / metabolism*
  • beta Catenin / physiology*


  • Cadherins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • beta Catenin
  • M-cadherin