The neural cell adhesion molecule (N-CAM) is seen in the membrane of nerves and muscles from several vertebrate species. Using indirect immunofluorescence, we have examined the expression of this protein during embryonic and postembryonic myogenesis in the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis. While good staining for N-CAM was seen in neuronal tissues at all stages examined, no staining of embryonic muscle was observed, including both mononucleated and polynucleated myoblasts. In contrast, limb muscles formed at metamorphosis showed strong expression of N-CAM. The developing limb muscles eventually lose their N-CAM, but will reexpress it dramatically when denervated. These observations suggest that myogenesis programs executed at different stages of development can display distinct patterns of N-CAM expression.

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