L1 and NCAM adhesion molecules as signaling coreceptors in neuronal migration and process outgrowth

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2008 Jun;18(3):245-50. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2008.07.015.


Neural cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) of the immunoglobulin superfamily engage in multiple neuronal interactions that influence cell migration, axonal and dendritic projection, and synaptic targeting. Their downstream signal transduction events specify whether a cell moves or projects axons and dendrites to targets in the brain. Many of the diverse functions of CAMs are brought about through homophilic and heterophilic interactions with other cell surface receptors. An emerging concept is that CAMs act as coreceptors to assist in intracellular signal transduction, and to provide cytoskeletal linkage necessary for cell and growth cone motility. Here we will focus on new discoveries that have revealed novel coreceptor functions for the best-understood CAMs--L1, CHL1, and NCAM--important for neuronal migration and axon guidance. We will also discuss how dysregulation of CAMs may also bear on neuropsychiatric disease and cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecule L1 / metabolism*
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecule L1
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules