Members of the Cadm/SynCAM/Necl/IGSF/TSLC family of cell adhesion molecules are known to have diverse functions during development of the nervous system, but information regarding their role during central nervous system (CNS) development in vivo is scarce. The rapid development of a relatively simple nervous system in larval zebrafish makes them a highly tractable model organism for studying gene function during nervous system development. An essential prerequisite for functional studies is a description of protein localization. To address this we have generated subtype-specific antibodies to two members of the zebrafish cell adhesion molecule family: cadm2a and cadm3. Using these novel antibodies we show that cadm3 and cadm2a are expressed throughout the nervous system of larval stage zebrafish. Particularly striking, and largely nonoverlapping expression of cadm2a and cadm3 is observed in the developing retina and spinal cord. Using in vitro binding assays we show that cadm2a and cadm3 bind heterophilically and preferentially to cadm1 and cadm4, respectively. These binding preferences are very similar to those seen for tetrapod Cadms but our study of protein localization suggests novel and diverse functions of cadms during nervous system development.
- Spinal cord