We describe here the preparation and application of antibodies directed against a synthetic, 24 amino acid long, peptide corresponding to the conserved cytoplasmic C terminus of N-cadherin. We demonstrate here that the antibodies to the synthetic peptide react extensively with all known members of the cadherin family and, in addition, recognize novel cadherins in a variety of cells and tissues, suggesting that these antibodies indeed exhibit pan-cadherin reactivity. By Western blot screening of chicken tissues at least 4 different immunoreactive bands were resolved, commonly disclosing 2–3 distinct bands within the same tissue. The pan-cadherin antibodies also displayed a broad interspecies cross reactivity, recognizing cadherins in man, bovine, canine, avian, amphibian and teleost cells. This property renders these antibodies excellent reagents for the cloning and identification of novel cadherins. Immunocytochemical labelling with the pan-cadherin antibodies, at the light- and electron-microscope levels, revealed an extensive reactivity with intercellular adherens junctions in cardiac muscle and in various epithelia. We thus propose that the pan-cadherin antibodies may be used as ubiquitous cadherin probes and serve as markers for adherens junctions.

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