The armadillo homologs beta-catenin and plakoglobin are differentially expressed during early development of Xenopus laevis

Developmental Biology
A A DeMarais, R T Moon

Abstract

Plakoglobin and beta-catenin are cytoplasmic proteins associated with the intracellular plaques of cell adhesive junctions. While plakoglobin is present in both adherens junctions and desmosomes, beta-catenin is associated with the cadherins that accumulate only in adherens junctions. Both beta-catenin and plakoglobin are homologs of armadillo, a Drosophila segment polarity gene that is considered to be in the wingless signaling pathway. We have characterized the expression and distribution of both plakoglobin and beta-catenin in Xenopus embryos. As shown by RNA blot analysis, beta-catenin and plakoglobin transcripts are present in fertilized eggs and in embryos through to tadpole stage. Whole-mount in situ hybridization indicates that both genes are expressed in the dorsal ectoderm and mesoderm of tailbud- and tadpole-stage embryos and that beta-catenin is expressed in the midbrain. Both plakoglobin and beta-catenin polypeptides are present during early Xenopus development; however, differences exist in the timing of maximal expression. Plakoglobin is present in the fertilized egg, increases in abundance by neurula stage, then declines at the tailbud and tadpole stages. beta-Catenin, recognized by an anti-arm antibody, is also...Continue Reading

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