CD2-associated protein is widely expressed and differentially regulated during embryonic development

Sanna Lehtonen, Jukka Tienari, Anou Londesborough, Ulla Pirvola, Ari Ora, Ilkka Reima, Eero Lehtonen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


CD2-associated protein (CD2AP) is an adapter protein that is involved in various signaling and vesicular trafficking processes and also functions as a linker between plasma membrane proteins and the actin cytoskeleton. The protein is known to have important functions in T cells and glomerular podocytes, but it is also expressed by many other adult-type tissues and cells. Here we analyzed the expression of the protein during early embryonic development and organogenesis of the mouse. The results showed differential tissue-specific regulation of CD2AP in developing and maturing organs. In oocytes and pre-implantation embryos, CD2AP was located diffusely in the cytoplasm, whereas in late blastocysts it was concentrated to the intercellular contacts. During organogenesis, CD2AP was distinctly upregulated upon, e.g., the pretubular aggregation of metanephric mesenchyme cells and the appearance of the osteoblastic rim around cartilages during endochondral ossification. High CD2AP expression was also observed during epithelial-like conversion of some highly specialized secretory cell types such as the odontoblasts, the cells of the choroid plexus and the decidualized cells of the endometrial stroma. In other instances, such as the development of the proximal tubuli of the kidney and the flat alveolar epithelium of the lung, the protein was downregulated upon differentiation and maturation of the cells. Finally, certain cells, e.g., glomerular podocytes, those forming the collecting ducts of the kidney, and the urothelium of the kidney pelvis, expressed CD2AP throughout their differentiation and maturation. Multiple molecules and complex pathways regulate embryogenesis, and scaffolding proteins apparently have pivotal roles in targeting and finetuning, e.g., growth factor- or hormone-induced processes. The cell-type specific spatio-temporal regulation of CD2AP during development suggests that this adapter protein is a key regulatory partner in many signaling pathways and cellular processes governing differentiation and morphogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-517
Number of pages12
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Actin cytoskeleton
  • Adapter protein
  • Differentiation
  • Nephrotic syndrome
  • Polycystic kidney disease


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