A role for the Ca2(+)-dependent adhesion molecule, N-cadherin, in myoblast interaction during myogenesis

Exp Cell Res. 1990 Jun;188(2):175-84. doi: 10.1016/0014-4827(90)90157-6.


The formation of multinucleate skeletal muscle cells (myotubes) is a Ca2(+)-dependent process involving the interaction and fusion of mononucleate muscle cells (myoblasts). Specific cell-cell adhesion precedes lipid bilayer union during myoblast fusion and has been shown to involve both Ca2(+)-independent (CI)2 and Ca2(+)-dependent (CD) mechanisms. In this paper we present evidence that CD myoblast adhesion involves a molecule similar or identical to two known CD adhesion glycoproteins, N-cadherin and A-CAM. These molecules were previously identified by other laboratories in brain and cardiac muscle, respectively, and are postulated to be the same molecule. Antibodies to N-cadherin and A-CAM immunoblotted a similar band with a molecular weight of approximately 125,000 in extracts of brain, heart, and pectoral muscle isolated from chick embryos and in extracts of muscle cells grown in vitro at Ca2+ concentrations that either promoted or inhibited myotube formation. In assays designed to measure the interaction of fusion-competent myoblasts in suspension, both polyclonal and monoclonal anti-N-cadherin antibodies inhibited CD myoblast aggregation, suggesting that N-cadherin mediates the CD aspect of myoblast adhesion. Anti-N-cadherin also had a partial inhibitory effect on myotube formation likely due to the effect on myoblast-myoblast adhesion. The results indicate that N-cadherin/A-CAM plays a role in myoblast recognition and adhesion during skeletal myogenesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cadherins / biosynthesis
  • Cadherins / immunology
  • Cadherins / physiology*
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / immunology
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / physiology
  • Cell Aggregation
  • Cell Fusion
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chick Embryo
  • Immune Sera
  • Immunoblotting
  • Molecular Weight
  • Muscles / cytology*
  • Muscles / embryology
  • Muscles / physiology


  • Cadherins
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Immune Sera