Retinoic acid is a negative physiological regulator of N-cadherin during early avian heart morphogenesis

Mahmoud Romeih, Inese Cakstina, Maija H. Zile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The vitamin A-deficient (VAD) early avian embryo has a grossly abnormal cardiovascular system that is rescued by treating the embryo with the vitamin A-active form, retinoic acid (RA). Here we examine the role of N-cadherin (N-cad) in RA-regulated early cardiovascular morphogenesis. N-cad mRNA and protein are expressed globally in the presomite through HH14 normal and VAD quail embryos. The expression in VAD embryos prior to HH10 is significantly higher than that in normal embryos. Functional analyses of the N-cad overproducing VAD embryos reveal N-cad involvement in the RA-regulated cardiovascular development and suggest that N-cad expression may be mediated by Msx1. We provide evidence that in the early avian embryo, endogenous RA is a negative physiological regulator of N-cad. We hypothesize that a critical endogenous level of N-cad is needed for normal early cardiovascular morphogenesis to occur and that this level is ensured by stage-specific, developmentally regulated RA signaling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)753-767
Number of pages15
JournalDevelopment Growth and Differentiation
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiovascular development
  • N-cadherin
  • Negative regulation
  • Quail embryo
  • Retinoic acid

Field of Science*

  • 1.6 Biological sciences

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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