Hiroshi Yajima, Kenji Hara, Hiroyuki Ide and Koji Tamura
Biological Institute, Graduate School of Life Science, Tohoku University, Aobayama Aoba-ku, Sendai, Japan.
ABSTRACT Stage-dependent cell sorting in vitro is an intriguing property that mesenchymal cells of a chick limb bud have. We previously proposed that N-cadherin, a cell adhesion molecule, is involved in the sorting process and is likely to be a component of the mechanism of proximal-distal patterning in the developing limb (Yajima et al., (1999) Dev. Dynam. 216:274-284). Here, we present more direct evidence that N-cadherin is one of the molecules responsible for regulation of stage-dependent cell sorting in vitro. Our results suggest that N-cadherin, which accumulates in the distal region of the chick limb bud as limb development proceeds, is related to the positional identity that gives rise to the different shapes and numbers of cartilaginous elements along the proximal-distal axis. In this article we also give insights into positional identity which is mediated by Hoxgenes and cell surface property during limb development.