Plexin is a type I membrane protein which was identified in Xenopus nervous system by hybridoma technique. Molecular cloning studies demonstrated that the extracellular segment of the plexin protein possesses three internal repeats of cysteine cluster which are homologous to the cysteine-rich domain of the c-met proto-oncogene protein product. A cell aggregation test revealed that the plexin protein mediated cell adhesion via a homophilic binding mechanism, in the presence of calcium ions. Plexin was expressed in the neuronal elements composing particular neuron circuits in Xenopus CNS and PNS. These findings indicate that plexin is a new member of the Ca(2+)-dependent cell adhesion molecules, and suggest that the molecule plays an important role in neuronal cell contact and neuron network formation.