N‐CAM and N‐Cadherin Are Specifically Expressed in Xanthophores, but not in the Other Types of Pigment Cells, Melanophores, and Iridiphores


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Little is known about cell‐cell communication in pigment cells, whereas a number of signalling molecules have been implicated to control their migration, differentiation, and proliferation. We set out to investigate the expression of cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) in the three different types of pigment cells in poikilotherms, Oryzias latipes and Xenopus laevis. In the present experiments, the expression of N‐CAM and N‐cadherin in the pigment cells in vitro was examined by immunocytochemistry. Melanophores and xanthophores were isolated and cultured from scales or skins, while iridophores were harvested from skins or peritoneum. The results showed that N‐CAM and N‐cadherin were specifically expressed in xanthophores, but not in melanophores or iridophores in both O.latipes and X.laevis. N‐CAM and N‐cadherin basically colocalized in the restricted regions of xanthophores, although the N‐cadherin‐expressed region was broader than the N‐CAM‐expressed region in the same cell. The incidence of N‐cadherin expression was higher than that of N‐CAM expression. N‐CAM and N‐cadherin were expressed at the tip or the base of dendrites, or at the edge between dendrites in dendritic xanthophores. N‐CAM and N‐cadherin usually localized in small and narrow regions of xanthophores. This distribution pattern was essentially similar in xanthophores with round morphology, which exhibited spot, band, or semicircular immunoreactive regions on the peripheral edge of the cells. The difference in the distribution of pigment granules within the cells, culture period, fixatives, or immunofluorescent markers used in the experiments did not alter the immunostaining pattern.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalPigment Cell Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1995 Feb

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science
  • Developmental Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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