N-cadherin involvement in cardiac myocyte interaction and myofibrillogenesis

Dev Biol. 1994 Mar;162(1):9-17. doi: 10.1006/dbio.1994.1062.


N-cadherin is a cell-surface, Ca(2+)-dependent adhesion molecule found in intercalated disks and extrajunctional sites in the myocardium. In this paper we show that antibodies specific for N-cadherin inhibit the contraction of both interacting and single myocytes isolated from embryonic chicken hearts. Quantitative electron microscopy revealed that anti-N-cadherin significantly decreases cell-cell contact between interacting myocytes, consistent with a role for N-cadherin as a cell-cell adhesion molecule. In addition, quantitative electron microscopy showed that anti-N-cadherin treatment of cardiomyocytes results in a significant reduction in the cytoplasmic area occupied by myofibrils, implying that N-cadherin also plays a role in myofibrillogenesis. We propose that N-cadherin, in addition to mediating cardiac myocyte interaction, promotes myofibril formation necessary for functional activity of the myocardium.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies
  • Cadherins / physiology*
  • Cell Communication
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chick Embryo
  • Heart / embryology*
  • Heart / physiology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Myocardial Contraction
  • Myocardium / cytology*
  • Myocardium / ultrastructure


  • Antibodies
  • Cadherins