Mouse coxsackie virus and adenovirus receptor (mCAR), which was isolated from the nerve growth cone-enriched fraction of newborn mouse brains, is a member of immunoglobulin-super family, and functions as a homophilic adhesion molecule. We observed the expression of mCAR in embryos to adult tissues by means of immunohistochemical analysis with a peptide antibody. mCAR expression was first detected in the embryonic ectoderm in the uterus on embryonic day 6.5 (E6.5). Then it was strongly expressed in the neuroepithelium of the neural tube, the developing brain and the spinal cord from E8.5 to postnatal day 7 (P7), in the cranial motor nerves from E9.5 to E11.5, and in the optic nerve from E13.5 to P7, which agrees with periods of their respective morphogenetic peaks. This expression of mCAR decreased postnatally and was absent in adult tissues. We found that mCAR occurred in a few proliferating cells of the hippocampal dentate gyrus, the subventricular zone (SVZ) of the lateral ventricles, and the rostral migratory stream (RMS) over P21. These observations demonstrate that mCAR was expressed characteristically in the immature neuroepithelium including progenitor cells or radial cells derived from the neural tube and in immature cells in a selected germinal zone of the mature brain. Based on our findings, we propose that mCAR is involved in migration and fasciculation during a restricted period as an adhesion molecule.
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