Initial studies have suggested that Pop1/Bves protein is exclusively expressed in the smooth muscle walls of the coronary vessels, implying its possible importance in coronary diseases. However, the mRNA and activity of this gene are detected in both skeletal and cardiac muscles, not coronary smooth muscle, and Pop1/Bves knockout mice have defects in skeletal muscle regeneration. Here we used specific monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) raised against chicken Pop1/Bves and demonstrated the presence of this protein in cardiomyocytes through development and its apparent absence in coronary vessels. Immunostaining of cardiomyocytes cultured in vitro confirmed the membrane localization of this protein in cells that participate in cell adhesion, with significant intracellular staining seen in isolated cells. In skeletal muscle, Pop1 protein becomes detectable at embryonic day (E) 7, coincident with the differentiation of morphologically distinct muscle masses from the limb muscle blastema, but the protein is not found at high levels in the cell membrane of myotubes until E11, coincident with the formation of secondary myotubes from satellite cells. These data support the hypothesis that Pop1/Bves is a cell adhesion molecule present in skeletal and cardiac muscle.
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