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J Biol Chem. 1997 Oct 10;272(41):26032-9.

Binding properties of neuroligin 1 and neurexin 1beta reveal function as heterophilic cell adhesion molecules.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas 75235, USA.

Abstract

beta-Neurexins and neuroligins are plasma membrane proteins that are displayed on the neuronal cell surface. We have now investigated the interaction of neurexin 1beta with neuroligin 1 to evaluate their potential to function as heterophilic cell adhesion molecules. Using detergent-solubilized neuroligins and secreted neurexin 1beta-IgG fusion protein, we observed binding of these proteins to each other only in the presence of Ca2+ and in no other divalent cation tested. Only neurexin 1beta lacking an insert in splice site 4 bound neuroligins, whereas neurexin 1beta containing an insert was inactive. Half-maximal binding required 1-3 microM free Ca2+, which probably acts by binding to neuroligin 1 but not to neurexin 1beta. To determine if neurexin 1beta and neuroligin 1 can also interact with each other when present in a native membrane environment on the cell surface, we generated transfected cell lines expressing neuroligin 1 and neurexin 1beta. Upon mixing different cell populations, we found that cells aggregate only if cells expressing neurexin 1beta are mixed with cells expressing neuroligin 1. Aggregation was dependent on Ca2+ and was inhibited by the addition of soluble neurexin 1beta lacking an insert in splice site 4 but not by the addition of neurexin 1beta containing an insert in splice site 4. We conclude that neurexin 1beta and neuroligin 1 (and, by extension, other beta-neurexins and neuroligins) function as heterophilic cell adhesion molecules in a Ca2+-dependent reaction that is regulated by alternative splicing of beta-neurexins.

PMID:
9325340
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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