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Keywords:

  • pancreas;
  • β-cells;
  • cell adhesion;
  • N-cadherin;
  • Pdx1;
  • islet biogenesis;
  • morphogenesis;
  • differentiation;
  • insulin secretion

Abstract

The cadherin family of cell adhesion molecules mediates adhesive interactions that are required for the formation and maintenance of tissues. Previously, we demonstrated that N-cadherin, which is required for numerous morphogenetic processes, is expressed in the pancreatic epithelium at E9.5, but later becomes restricted to endocrine aggregates in mice. To study the role of N-cadherin during pancreas formation and function we generated a tissue-specific knockout of N-cadherin in the early pancreatic epithelium by inter-crossing N-cadherin-floxed mice with Pdx1Cre mice. Analysis of pancreas-specific ablation of N-cadherin demonstrates that N-cadherin is dispensable for pancreatic development, but required for β-cell granule turnover. The number of insulin secretory granules is significantly reduced in N-cadherin-deficient β-cells, and as a consequence insulin secretion is decreased. genesis 48:374–381, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.