We have used high affinity polyclonal antibodies specific for phosphotyrosine (PTyr) residues to examine the localization in various chick embryonic tissues in situ of PTyr-modified proteins by immunocytochemical methods. During the period from 9 to 21 d of development, most tissues exhibit elevated levels of PTyr-modified proteins as determined by immunoblotting experiments of tissue extracts with the anti-PTyr antibodies (Maher, P. A., and E. B. Pasquale. 1988. J. Cell Biol. 106:1747-1755). By immunofluorescence labeling of semithin frozen sections, the highest concentrations of PTyr immunolabeling in all of the embryonic tissues examined were localized to the membranes of the epithelial and endothelial cells with other cells showing no detectable labeling. These results were confirmed by immunoelectron microscopic labeling, which showed particularly high concentrations of PTyr-modified proteins close to the membranes at the apical junctions. The corresponding adult tissues showed no labeling. It is proposed that these results reflect the molecular basis for the functional plasticity of epithelial and endothelial cell junctions during embryonic development.

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