Neural cell adhesion molecule-180-mediated homophilic binding induces epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) down-regulation and uncouples the inhibitory function of EGFR in neurite outgrowth

J Neurochem. 2008 Feb;104(3):624-39. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2007.05033.x. Epub 2007 Nov 6.


The neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) plays important roles in neuronal development, regeneration, and synaptic plasticity. NCAM homophilic binding mediates cell adhesion and induces intracellular signals, in which the fibroblast growth factor receptor plays a prominent role. Recent studies on axon guidance in Drosophila suggest that NCAM also regulates the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) (Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, 28, 2005, 141). A possible interaction between NCAM and EGFR in mammalian cells has not been investigated. The present study demonstrates for the first time a functional interaction between NCAM and EGFR in mammalian cells and investigates the molecular mechanisms underlying this interaction. First, NCAM and EGFR are shown to play opposite roles in neurite outgrowth regulation in cerebellar granular neurons. The data presented indicate that negative regulation of EGFR is one of the mechanisms underlying the neuritogenic effect of NCAM. Second, it is demonstrated that expression of the NCAM-180 isoform induces EGFR down-regulation in transfected cells and promotes EGFR down-regulation induced by EGF stimulation. It is demonstrated that the mechanism underlying this NCAM-180-induced EGFR down-regulation involves increased EGFR ubiquitination and lysosomal EGFR degradation. Furthermore, NCAM-180-mediated EGFR down-regulation requires NCAM homophilic binding and interactions of the cytoplasmic domain of NCAM-180 with intracellular interaction partners, but does not require NCAM-mediated fibroblast growth factor receptor activation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cerebellum / cytology
  • Coculture Techniques / methods
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects
  • Down-Regulation / physiology*
  • Drug Interactions
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • ErbB Receptors / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Molecular Weight
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules / physiology*
  • Neurites / drug effects
  • Neurites / physiology*
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Protein Binding / drug effects
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor / physiology
  • Transfection / methods


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor
  • ErbB Receptors