Signaling mechanisms of neurite outgrowth induced by the cell adhesion molecules NCAM and N-cadherin

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2008 Nov;65(23):3809-21. doi: 10.1007/s00018-008-8290-0.


Formation of appropriate neural circuits depends on a complex interplay between extracellular guiding cues and intracellular signaling events that result in alterations of cytoskeletal dynamics and a neurite growth response. Surface-expressed cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) interact with the surroundings via the extracellular domain and bind to the cytoskeleton via their intracellular domain. In addition, several CAMs induce signaling events via direct interactions with intracellular proteins or via interactions with cell surface receptors. Thus, CAMs are obvious candidates for transmitting extracellular guidance cues to intracellular events and thereby regulating neurite outgrowth. In this review, we focus on two CAMs, the neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) and N-cadherin, and their ability to mediate signaling associated with a neurite outgrowth response. In particular, we will focus on direct interaction between NCAM and N-cadherin with a number of intracellular partners, as well as on their interaction with the fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cadherins / metabolism*
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology*
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism*
  • Neurites / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Cadherins
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor