In the adult avian forebrain, neurons continue to be produced in the subependymal zone (SZ), from which they migrate upon radial fibers. To identify ligands regulating this process, we studied N-cadherin and Ng- CAM/8D9 expression in HVC, a neurogenic region of the canary neostriatum. N- cadherin was relatively restricted to the SZ and was expressed by dividing, [3H]thymidine-labeled precursor cells. However, cellular N-cadherin was down-regulated prior to neuronal migration from the SZ. Addition of anti-N- cadherin Fab hastened neuronal migration from adult SZ explants, without influencing neuronal number. Unlike N-cadherin, Ng-CAM/8D9 was expressed by migrating neurons. Anti-8D9 Fab inhibited neuronal migration upon cultured ependymoglia, which did not express Ng-CAM/8D9. Thus, the departure of new neurons from the adult SZ may require their suppression of N-cadherin, whereas their subsequent migration and survival may depend upon neuronal expression of Ng-CAM/8D9 and its interaction with a heterophilic radial cell receptor.
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