Life and Medical Sciences
Cell & Developmental Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
Chemistry and Pharmacology
Msx-1 and Msx-2 are two closely related homeobox genes expressed in cephalic neural crest tooth buds, the optic cup endocardial cushions, and the developing limb [Hill and Davidson, 1991; Monaghan et al., 1991; Robert et al., 1991]. These sites correspond to regions of active cell segregation and proliferation under the influence of epithelial-mesenchymal cell interactions [Brown et al., 1993; Davidson et al., 1991], suggesting that Msx-1 and Msx-2 regulate cell-cell interactions. We have investigated the potential relationship between expression of the Msh homeobox genes (Msx-1 and Msx-2) and cadherin-mediated cell adhesion and cell sorting. We report that cell lines stably expressing Msx-1 or Msx-2 differentially sort on the basis of Msh gene expression. We demonstrate in vitro that initial cell aggregation involves calcium-dependent adhesion molecules (cadherins) and that Msh genes regulate cadherin-mediated adhesion. These results support the hypothesis that Msh genes play a role in the regulation of cell-cell adhesion and provide a link between the genetic phenomena of homeobox gene expression and cellular events involved in morphogenesis, including cell sorting and proliferation. J. Cell. Biochem. 70:22-28, 1998. © 1998 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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