Cadherin-6 in the developing mouse brain: expression along restricted connection systems and synaptic localization suggest a potential role in neuronal circuitry

Dev Dyn. 1998 Apr;211(4):338-51. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0177(199804)211:4<338::AID-AJA5>3.0.CO;2-I.


Multiple subtypes of the cadherin homophilic cell-cell adhesion molecule are expressed differentially in developing and mature brains, each being expressed in restricted neuronal groups. Cadherin-6 (cad6) is one of such cadherins. Recent studies of cad6 mRNA expression in the postnatal mouse forebrain showed that it occurs in neurons constituting a specific subset of thalamocortical connections. Here we analyzed the localization of cad6 mRNA as well as its protein in the entire central nervous system and also in cranial ganglia of mice at late embryonic to postnatal stages. Our results showed that cad6 is expressed by a limited population of neurons or their precursors, which are synaptically connected to one another, throughout the perinatal stages, and that this expression delineates restricted neuronal circuits from the central to peripheral nervous systems, which include subpathways of the auditory, somatosensory, solitary, vestibular, and olivocerebellar systems. cad6 proteins were detected in these cad6 mRNA-positive neurons on the surface of their cell bodies or dendrites as well as in the cytoplasm. Confocal microscopic analysis revealed that the cad6 protein distribution overlapped that of synaptotagmin in synapse forming areas, suggesting that homotypic cad6 interactions are involved in synaptic connections between neurons expressing this protein. These findings support the idea that cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesions take part in specific interneuronal connections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Blotting, Western
  • Brain / embryology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Cadherins / metabolism*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Interneurons / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Synapses / metabolism*
  • Time Factors


  • Cadherins
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • K cadherin