Pharmaceutical Sciences Faculty Publications

Anti-Apogens and Anti-Engulfens: Monoclonal Antibodies Reveal Specific Antigens on Apoptotic and Engulfment Cells During Chicken Embryonic Development

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We have isolated a group of monoclonal antibodies that specifically recognize either apoptotic or engulfment cells in the interdigit areas of chicken hind limb foot plates, and throughout the embryo. Ten of these antibodies (antiapogens) detect epitopes on dying cells that colocalize to areas of programmed cell death, characterized by the presence of apoptotic cells and bodies with typical cellular and nuclear morphology. Our results indicate that cells destined to die, or that are in the process of dying, express specific antigens that are not detectable in or on the surface of living cells. The detection of these apoptotic cell antigens in other areas of programmed cell death throughout the chick embryo indicates that different cell types, which form specific tissues and organs, may utilize similar cell death mechanisms. Six of the monoclonal antibodies (antiengulfens) define a class of engulfment cells which contain various numbers of apoptotic cells and/or apoptotic bodies in areas of programmed cell death. The immunostaining pattern of the anti-engulfen R15F is similar to that of an antibody against a common leukocyte antigen, suggesting the participation of cells from the immune system in the removal of apoptotic cell debris. These novel monoclonal antibody markers for apoptotic and engulfment cells will provide new tools to assist the further understanding of developmental programmed cell death in vertebrates.


Programmed cell death, apoptosis, development, monoclonal antibodies