Neurofascin: a switch between neuronal plasticity and stability

Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2012 May;44(5):694-7. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2012.01.012. Epub 2012 Jan 24.


Neurofascin (NF) is a cell surface protein belonging to the immunoglobulin superfamily (IgSF). Different polypeptides of 186, 180, 166 and 155 kDa are generated by alternative splicing. Expression of these isoforms is temporally and spatially regulated and can be roughly grouped into embryonic, adult and glial expression. NF interacts with many different interaction partners both extra- and intracellularly. Interactions of NF166 and NF180 selectively regulate mechanisms of plasticity like neurite outgrowth and the formation postsynaptic components. By contrast, NF155 and NF186 confer stabilization of neural structures by interaction with voltage-gated sodium channels and ankyrinG at axon initial segments (AIS) or nodes of Ranvier as well as neuron-glia interactions at the paranodes. Alternatively spliced isoforms of neurofascin may therefore balance dynamic and stabilizing mechanisms of the CNS.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing
  • Ankyrins / genetics
  • Ankyrins / metabolism
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / genetics
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Homeostasis / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Nerve Growth Factors / genetics
  • Nerve Growth Factors / metabolism*
  • Neuroglia / cytology
  • Neuroglia / metabolism
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Organ Specificity
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Sodium Channels / genetics
  • Sodium Channels / metabolism


  • ANK3 protein, human
  • Ankyrins
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • NFASC protein, human
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Sodium Channels