To examine the diversity of the cadherin family, we isolated cDNAs from brain and retina cDNA preparations with the aid of polymerase chain reaction. The products obtained included cDNAs for two of three known cadherins as well as eight distinct cDNAs, of which deduced amino acid sequences show significant similarity with the known cadherin sequences. Larger cDNA clones were isolated from human cDNA libraries for six of the eight new molecules. The deduced amino acid sequences show that the overall structure of these molecules is very similar to that of the known cadherins, indicating that these molecules are new members of the cadherin family. We have tentatively designated these cadherins as cadherin-4 through -11. The new molecules, with the exception of cadherin-4, exhibit features that distinguish them as a group from previously cloned cadherins; they may belong to a new subfamily of cadherins. Northern blot analysis showed that most of these cadherins are expressed mainly in brain, although some are expressed in other tissues as well. These findings show that the cadherin family of adhesion molecules is much larger than previously thought, and suggest that the new cadherins may play an important role in cell-cell interactions within the central nervous system.