The molecules involved in Ca2+-dependent cell-cell adhesion systems (CDS) in mouse hepatocytes were characterized and compared with those in teratocarcinoma cells. Fab fragments of antibody raised against liver tissues (anti-liver) inhibited Ca2+-dependent aggregation of both liver and teratocarcinoma cells. A monoclonal antibody raised against teratocarcinoma CDS (ECCD-1) also inhibited the Ca2+-dependent aggregation of these two cell types equally. These antibodies induced disruption of cell-cell adhesion in monolayers of hepatocytes. Thus, CDS in these two cell types are not immunologically distinctive. Immunochemical analyses with these antibodies showed that CDS in both hepatocytes and teratocarcinoma cells involved at least two classes of cell surface proteins with molecular weights of 124,000 and 104,000. ECCD-1 selectively bound to hepatocytes but not to fibroblastic cells in liver cell cultures. Thus, the molecular constitution of CDS in hepatocytes and teratocarcinoma stem cells is identical. As ECCD-1 reacts with other classes of embryonic and fetal cells, the molecules identified here could have a major role in cell-cell adhesion in various tissues at any developmental stage of animals.

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