Neuronal circuits are subdivided by differential expression of type-II classic cadherins in postnatal mouse brains

Mol Cell Neurosci. 1997;9(5-6):433-47. doi: 10.1006/mcne.1997.0626.


A number of type-II classic cadherin cell-cell adhesion molecules are expressed in the brain. To investigate their roles in brain morphogenesis, we selected three type-II cadherins, cadherin-6 (cad6), -8 (cad8) and -11 (cad11), and mapped their expressions in the forebrain and other restricted regions of postnatal mouse brains. In the cerebral cortex, each cortical area previously defined was delineated by a specific combinatorial expression of these cadherins. The thalamus and other subcortical regions of the forebrain were also subdivided by differential expression of the three cadherins; e.g., the medial geniculate body expressed only cad6; the ventral posterior thalamic nucleus, cad6/cad11; and the anteroventral thalamic nucleus, cad6/cad8. Likewise, in the olivocerebellar system, each subdivision of the inferior olive expressed a unique set of the three cadherins, and the cerebellar cortex had parasagittal stripes of cad8/cad11 expressions. Close analysis of these cadherin expression patterns revealed that they are correlated with neuronal connection patterns. Examples of these correlations include that cad6 delineates the auditory projection system, cad6/cad8/ cad11 are expressed by part of the Papez circuit, and cad6/cad8 are expressed by subdivisions of the olivo-nuclear circuit. Together with the recent finding that the cadherin adhesion system is localized in synaptic junctions, our findings support the notion that cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesion plays a role in selective interneuronal connections during neural network formation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / growth & development
  • Animals, Newborn / metabolism*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Cadherins / biosynthesis
  • Cadherins / genetics
  • Cadherins / physiology*
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cerebellum / growth & development
  • Cerebellum / metabolism
  • Cerebral Cortex / growth & development
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Olivary Nucleus / growth & development
  • Olivary Nucleus / metabolism
  • Thalamus / growth & development
  • Thalamus / metabolism


  • Cadherins