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Abstract

Endochondral bone formation requires a complex interplay among immature mesenchymal progenitor cells to form the cartilaginous anlagen, which involves migration, aggregation and condensation. Even though condensation of chondrogenic progenitors is an essential step in this process, its mechanism(s) has not been well studied. Here, we show that cadherin-7 plays a central role in cellular condensation by modulating cell motility and migration. In this study, many mesenchymal cells failed to migrate, and precartilage condensation was inhibited, after knockdown of endogenous cadherin-7 levels. Exposure of mesenchymal cells to SB203580 (a specific inhibitor of p38MAPK), LiCl (an inhibitor of GSK-3β) or overexpression of β-catenin resulted in inhibition of cadherin-7 levels and, subsequently, suppression of cell migration. Collectively, our results suggest that cadherin-7 controls cell migration in chick limb bud mesenchymal cells, and that p38MAPK and GSK signals are responsible for regulating cadherin-7-mediated cell migration. J. Cell. Physiol. 221: 161–170, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc