Activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule (CD166/ALCAM): developmental and mechanistic aspects of cell clustering and cell migration

Eur J Cell Biol. 2002 Jun;81(6):313-21. doi: 10.1078/0171-9335-00256.


Activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule (ALCAM/CD166) is a member of the immunoglobulin superfamily and belongs to a recent subgroup with five extracellular immunoglobulin-like domains (VVC2C2C2). ALCAM mediates both heterophilic (ALCAM-CD6) and homophilic (ALCAM-ALCAM) cell-cell interactions. While expressed in a wide variety of tissues, ALCAM is usually restricted to subsets of cells involved in dynamic growth and/or migration, including neural development, branching organ development, hematopoiesis, immune response and tumor progression. Recent structure-function analyses of ALCAM hint at how its cytoskeletal anchoring and the integrity of the extracellular immunoglobulin-like domains may regulate complex cellular properties in regard to cell adhesion, growth and migration. Accumulating evidence suggests that ALCAM expression may reflect the onset of a cellular program for homeostatic control of growth saturation, which induces either growth arrest or cell migration when the upper limits are exceeded.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Activated-Leukocyte Cell Adhesion Molecule / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology*
  • Cell Communication / physiology
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Eukaryotic Cells / cytology
  • Eukaryotic Cells / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Structure
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary / physiology


  • Activated-Leukocyte Cell Adhesion Molecule