Down syndrome cell adhesion molecule and its functions in neural development

Neurosci Bull. 2011 Feb;27(1):45-52. doi: 10.1007/s12264-011-1045-1.


The nervous system is a complex network with many types of neurons and numerous synaptic connections. The present knowledge on how neurons recognize specific targets and form such an intricate network is still limited. The Down syndrome cell adhesion molecule (DSCAM) belongs to the immunoglobulin superfamily and contributes to defects in the central nervous system in Down syndrome patients. DSCAM plays important roles in neural development, including dendritic patterning and self-avoidance, axon guidance and branching, axon target recognition and synaptic formation. However, the functional mechanisms and the underlying signaling pathways are still largely unknown. Here the functions of DSCAM in neural development were reviewed. Future research for better understanding DSCAM function and the relevance of DSCAM to human diseases was also discussed.

神经系统是一个包含有多种类型神经元和无数个突触连接的复杂网络。 关于神经元如何识别特定的目标和形成这样一个错综复杂的网络的认识目前仍然很有限。 唐氏综合征细胞黏附分子(Down syndrome cell adhesion molecule, DSCAM)是免疫球蛋白超家族的成员, 与唐氏综合征患者的中枢神经系统病变有密切的关系。 DSCAM 在神经发育过程中起着重要的作用, 包括树突形成、 自我回避、 轴突导向和分支、 轴突目标识别和突触形成等。 然而, DSCAM在神经系统中作用的机制和相关信号通路仍不清楚。 本文综述了DSCAM在神经发育中的作用, 并对未来的研究进行探讨, 以期更好地理解DSCAM的功能及其与人类疾病的关系。

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neurogenesis / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Cell Adhesion Molecules