Cell-adhesion proteins of the immunoglobulin superfamily in the nervous system

Essays Biochem. 1996;31:37-48.


The unique groups of cell-adhesion proteins, such as IgSF, play essential parts in the formation and maintenance of the nervous system. Recent crystallographic studies have revealed a possible common structure of cell-adhesion proteins. The IgSF proteins are sub-grouped into simple, complex and mixed types. Accumulating evidence reveals the importance of cell-adhesion proteins in neural morphogenesis, maintenance and regeneration. They play key roles in neuronal migration, neurite outgrowth promotion, neurite fasciculation, pathfinding, target recognition, synaptogenesis and myelination. Mutations of cell-adhesion proteins result in neurological disease; for example, mutations of PO in hereditary neuropathy and mutations of L1 in hereditary hydrocephalus, MASA syndrome and spastic paraplegia type 1. Perspectives of the studies of neural cell-adhesion proteins are discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cadherins / chemistry
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal / chemistry*
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal / classification
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin M / chemistry
  • Immunoglobulin M / metabolism
  • Immunoglobulins / chemistry*
  • Immunoglobulins / classification
  • Immunoglobulins / physiology*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Nervous System / chemistry*
  • Nervous System Diseases / metabolism
  • Nervous System Physiological Phenomena
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules / chemistry
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules / physiology
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / chemistry
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / physiology


  • Cadherins
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell