Cell adhesion molecule cadherins play important roles in both development and maintenance of adult structures. Most studies on cadherin expression have been carried out in developing organisms, but information on cadherin distribution in adult vertebrate brains is limited. In this study we used in situ hybridization to examine mRNA expression of three cadherins, protocadherin-19, protocadherin-17, and cadherin-6 in adult zebrafish brain. Each cadherin exhibits a distinct expression pattern in the fish brain, with protocadherin-19 and protocadherin-17 showing much wider and stronger expression than that of cadherin-6. Both protocadherin-19 and protocadherin-17-expressing cells occur throughout the brain, with strong expression in the ventromedial telencephalon, periventricular regions of the thalamus and anterior hypothalamus, stratum periventriculare of the optic tectum, dorsal tegmental nucleus, granular regions of the cerebellar body and valvula, and superficial layers of the facial and vagal lobes. Numerous sensory structures (e.g., auditory, gustatory, lateral line, olfactory, and visual nuclei) and motor nuclei (e.g., oculomotor, trochlear, trigeminal motor, abducens, and vagal motor nuclei) contain protocadherin-19 and/or protocadherin-17-expressing cell. Expression of these two protocadherins is similar in the ventromedial telencephalon, thalamus, hypothalamus, facial, and vagal lobes, but substantially different in the dorsolateral telencephalon, intermediate layers of the optic tectum, and cerebellar valvula. In contrast to the two protocadherins, cadherin-6 expression is much weaker and limited in the adult fish brain. J. Comp. Neurol. 523:1419–1442, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Using in situ hybridization method to investigate mRNA expression of cadherin-6, protocadherin-17, and -19 in the adult zebrafish brain, the authors show that these cell adhesion molecules have distinct expression patterns, with two showing wide and strong expression throughout the brain, including hypothalamus and many sensory and motor nuclei