Fibronectin isoform distribution in the mouse: I. The alternatively spliced EIIIB, EIIIA, and V segments show widespread codistribution in the developing mouse embryo

John H. Peters, Richard O. Hynes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

70 Scopus citations


Fibronectins (FNs) are extracellular matrix glycoproteins that are essential for embryonic development. In order to gain clues to possible developmental roles played by the particular isoforms of FN, we used indirect immunofluorescence microscopy to examine and compare the distributions of the alternatively spliced EIIIB, EIIIA, and V segments, as well as the total pool of FNs, in serial sections from mouse embryos. Antibodies to each of these segments produced staining patterns that colocalized during gastrulation (E7.5) and during early morphogenesis of somites and notochord (E9.5). During the period of continuing organogenesis in the latter half of gestation (E10.5 to E16.5), the antibodies generally continued to produce similar staining patterns localized to epithelial basement membranes, stromal connective tissues, blood vessel walls, and muscles. However, as development proceeded, there was a gradual decline in the intensity of staining for the spliced segments relative to the total pool of FN, with a particularly noticeable decline in staining for EIIIB and EIIIA segments in certain glandular organs, including the liver. A specific reduction in expression of these latter two segments was also evident in the uterus and placenta at early timepoints in gestation. However, the most dramatic difference in the expression of the spliced segments occurred in developing hyaline cartilage, which showed a selective reduction in staining for the EIIIA segment that was evident in the axial skeletal precursors by E12.5 and complete throughout the embryo by E15.5. Our findings suggest that the alternatively spliced EIIIB, EIIIA, and V segments are included in the FN that is required for the morphogenesis of "FN dependent" structures, including somites, notochord, and the vasculature. Conversely, these segments would appear to play divergent, and sometimes exclusive, biological roles in specific tissues such as liver, cartilage, and placenta.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-125
Number of pages23
JournalCell Communication and Adhesion
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes



  • Alternative Spicing
  • Basement Membranes
  • Blood Vessels
  • Cartilage
  • Development
  • Extracellular Matrix
  • Fibronectin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry

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