Cytotactin is an extracellular matrix protein that is found in a restricted distribution and is related to developmental patterning at a number of neural and non-neural sites. It has been shown to bind specifically to other extracellular matrix components including a chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan (cytotactin-binding [CTB] proteoglycan) and fibronectin. Cell binding experiments have revealed that cytotactin interacts with neurons and fibroblasts. When isolated from brain, both cytotactin and CTB proteoglycan contain the HNK-1 carbohydrate epitope. Here, specific antibodies prepared against highly purified cytotactin and CTB proteoglycan were used to correlate the biochemical alterations and modes of binding of these proteins with their differential tissue expression as a function of time and place during chicken embryo development. It was found that, during neural development, both the levels of expression of cytotactin and CTB proteoglycan and of the molecular forms of each molecule varied, following different time courses. In addition, a novel Mr 250,000 form of cytotactin was detected that contained chondroitin sulfate. The intermolecular binding of cytotactin and CTB proteoglycan and the binding of cytotactin to fibroblasts were characterized further and found to be inhibited by EDTA, consistent with a dependence on divalent cations. Unlike the molecules from neural tissue, cytotactin and CTB proteoglycan isolated from non-neural tissues such as fibroblasts lacked the HNK-1 epitope. Nevertheless, the intermolecular and cellular binding activities of cytotactin isolated from fibroblast culture medium were comparable to those of the molecule isolated from brain, suggesting that the HNK-1 epitope is not directly involved in binding. Binding experiments involving enzymatically altered molecules that lack chondroitin sulfate suggested that this glycosaminoglycan is also not directly involved in binding. Although they clearly formed a binding couple, the spatial distributions of cytotactin and CTB proteoglycan in the embryo were not always coincident. They were similar in tissue sections from the cerebellum, gizzard, and vascular smooth muscle. In contrast, CTB proteoglycan was present in cardiac muscle where no cytotactin is present, and it was seen in cartilage throughout development unlike cytotactin, which was present only in immature chondrocytes. Cell culture experiments were consistent with the previous conclusion that cytotactin was specifically synthesized by glia, whereas CTB proteoglycan was specifically synthesized by neurons.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

This content is only available as a PDF.