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J Neurochem. 2001 Mar;76(5):1421-30.

Soluble N-cadherin stimulates fibroblast growth factor receptor dependent neurite outgrowth and N-cadherin and the fibroblast growth factor receptor co-cluster in cells.

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Molecular Neurobiology Group, GKT School of Medicine, London, UK.


A chimeric molecule consisting of the extracellular domain of the adhesion molecule, N-cadherin, fused to the Fc region of human IgG (NCAD-Fc) supports calcium-dependent cell adhesion and promotes neurite outgrowth following affinity-capture to a tissue culture substrate. When presented to cerebellar neurons as a soluble molecule, the NCAD-Fc stimulated neurite outgrowth in a manner equivalent to that seen for N-cadherin expressed as a cell surface glycoprotein. Neurons expressing a dominant-negative version of the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptor did not respond to soluble NCAD-Fc. In cells transfected with full-length N-cadherin and the FGF receptor, antibody-clustering of N-cadherin resulted in a co-clustering of the FGF receptor to discrete patches in the cell membrane. The data demonstrate that the ability of N-cadherin to stimulate neurite outgrowth can be dissociated from its ability to function as a substrate associated adhesion molecule. The N-cadherin and the FGF receptor co-clustering in cells provides a basis for the neurite outgrowth response stimulated by N-cadherin being dependent on FGF receptor function.

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