Promyogenic members of the Ig and cadherin families associate to positively regulate differentiation
Determination and differentiation of cells in the skeletal muscle lineage is positively regulated by cell-cell contact. Cell-surface proteins proposed to mediate this effect include both classical cadherins and Ig superfamily members; potential interactions between the promyogenic activities of these classes of protein, however, are unknown. We show here that CDO and BOC, two promyogenic Ig superfamily members that bind to each other in a cis fashion, form complexes with N- and M-cadherin. These complexes contain β-catenin and are enriched at sites of cell-cell contact between myoblasts. In transient expression assays, the ectodomains and intracellular regions of CDO, BOC, and N-cadherin each interact independently, suggesting that the interactions occur in a cis fashion; consistent with this conclusion, cadherin-mediated cell adhesion is not required for them to occur. Stable expression in myoblasts of a CDO deletion mutant deficient in its ability to associate with N-cadherin interferes with differentiation as assessed by biochemical, morphological, and reporter gene assays, suggesting that this interaction is functionally important in myogenesis. Thus, some of the cell-cell contact-mediated activities that are required for myogenesis seem to be based on interdependent activities of promyogenic classical cadherins and Ig superfamily members.