Developmental Biology

Stuck Offside

Science's STKE  16 May 2000:
Vol. 2000, Issue 32, pp. tw8
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2000.32.tw8

The bilateral symmetry that is such a visible characteristic of higher animals is not without its exceptions--for example, in birds and mammals, the heart loops off to one side as it develops. The signaling events that establish this asymmetry seem to begin with the earliest stages of gastrulation. García-Castro et al. now demonstrate that N-cadherin, a molecule that generally mediates cell adhesion, is expressed at the right place and time in chick embryos to be one of the earliest mediators of left-right asymmetry. Thus, the processes that result in established asymmetry may include cell adhesion, as well as the already known signaling events.

García-Castro, M., Vielmetter, E., and Bronner-Fraser, M. (2000) N-Cadherin, a cell adhesion molecule involved in establishment of embryonic left-right asymmetry. Science 288: 1047-1051. [Abstract] [Full Text]