Identity of Leu-19 (CD56) leukocyte differentiation antigen and neural cell adhesion molecule

J Exp Med. 1989 Jun 1;169(6):2233-8. doi: 10.1084/jem.169.6.2233.


Neural cell adhesion molecule (N-CAM) is a membrane glycoprotein expressed on neural and muscle tissues that is involved in homotypic adhesive interactions. We have demonstrated that N-CAM also is expressed on hematopoietic cells, and is recognized by the anti-Leu-19 mAb. Leu-19 is preferentially expressed on NK cells and T lymphocytes that mediate MHC-unrestricted cytotoxicity, but is also present on some myeloid leukemia cell lines. On NK cells, T cells, the KG1a.5 hematopoietic cell line, and a neuroblastoma cell line, Leu-19 is a approximately 140-kD polypeptide with N-linked carbohydrates and abundant sialic acid residues. Sequential immunoprecipitation and peptide mapping demonstrated that the Leu-19 and N-CAM molecules expressed on leukocyte and neuroblastoma cell lines are similar structures. These findings suggest that the Leu-19 antigen on leukocytes may be involved in cell adhesion, analogous to the function on N-CAM on neural cells.

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte / genetics
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte / isolation & purification*
  • Antigens, Surface / genetics
  • Antigens, Surface / isolation & purification*
  • CD56 Antigen
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Cell Communication
  • Cell Line
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / analysis
  • Humans
  • Killer Cells, Natural / analysis
  • Leukemia, Myeloid / metabolism
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / isolation & purification*
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid
  • Nerve Tissue / analysis
  • Sialic Acids / analysis
  • T-Lymphocytes / analysis
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte
  • Antigens, Surface
  • CD56 Antigen
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Sialic Acids
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid