Bves (blood vessel/epicardial substance) is a transmembrane protein postulated to play a role in cell adhesion. While it is clear that Bves and gene products of the same family are expressed in adult striated muscle cells, the distribution of these proteins during development has not been critically examined. An understanding of the expression pattern of Bves is essential for a determination of protein function and its role in embryogenesis. In this study, we present an expression analysis of Bves during chick gastrulation and germ layer formation. Our data show that Bves is expressed in epithelia of all three germ layers early in development. Furthermore, Bves protein is observed in epithelial tissues during organogenesis, specifically the developing epidermis, the gut endoderm, and the epicardium of the heart. These data support the hypothesis that Bves may play a role in cell adhesion and movement of epithelia during early embryogenesis.
Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.