N-Cadherin expression and function in cultured oligodendrocytes

Harold Ross Payne, John J. Hemperly, Vance Lemmon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


N-Cadherin is a major cell adhesion molecule that is expressed in the developing nervous system where it has been implicated in neural migration and axon growth. Recently, a role for N-cadherin in oligodendrocyte differentiation has been identified. Oligodendrocyte precursors adhere to N-cadherin and mature rapidly to produce myelin sheets. Since this implies that oligodendrocytes express N-cadherin, we examined the expression of N-cadherin by oligodendrocytes in culture. N-Cadherin was expressed by O-2A progenitors, immature oligodendrocytes and mature oligodendrocytes, but at a lower level than in type 1 astrocytes in the same cultures. On mature oligodendrocytes, the N-cadherin was concentrated on the major processes emerging from the soma. The ability of N-cadherin and merosin to promote oligodendrocyte precursor migration was also studied. Average migration rates were significantly higher on merosin (11.2 μm/h) than on N-cadherin (5.6 μm/h). These results suggest that N-cadherin is not likely to function predominantly as a substrate that stimulates migration of O-2A progenitors, but may be more important in initiating early oligodendrocyte-axon interactions that promote the process of myelination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-15
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental Brain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 22 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell migration
  • Immunofluorescence
  • Merosin
  • Myelination
  • O-2A progenitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Developmental Neuroscience


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