Background: Cadherins are transmembrane proteins mediating calcium-dependent cell-cell adhesion in a cell type-specific manner by means of homophilic binding. M(muscle)-cadherin is a recently detected member of the cadherin family.
Methods: We have investigated the localization of M-cadherin in normal and aneurally regenerating skeletal muscle of rat by means of pre-embedding immunocytochemistry. The antibody was directed against the extra-cellular domain of M-cadherin.
Results: Myoblasts and myotubes in regenerating muscles tended to be arranged in clusters enclosed by a common basal lamina. Satellite cells of mature muscle fibers were attached to the underlying fiber without separating basal lamina. Reactivity for M-cadherin was restricted to the plasma membranes of myoblasts and satellite cells, and was most intense at the membrane areas facing adjacent myotubes or myofibers. Myoblasts interposed between two myotubes were stained on the entire surface. The adjacent plasma membrane of the otherwise negative myotube or muscle fiber, was stained as well, and extracellular reaction product was in the gap between the cells.
Conclusion: The cellular localization of M-cadherin may indicate that M-cadherin is involved in calcium-dependent adhesion between satellite cells and muscle fibers or, by means of interposed myoblasts, between the clustered myotubes in a regenerating muscle.