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J Cell Sci. 2005 Mar 15;118(Pt 6):1267-77. Epub 2005 Mar 1.

Nectin-like molecule-1/TSLL1/SynCAM3: a neural tissue-specific immunoglobulin-like cell-cell adhesion molecule localizing at non-junctional contact sites of presynaptic nerve terminals, axons and glia cell processes.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine/Faculty of Medicine, Suita 565-0871, Osaka, Japan.


Nectins are Ca2+-independent immunoglobulin-like cell-cell adhesion molecules and comprise a family of four members. At the mossy fiber terminals of hippocampus, nectin-1 and nectin-3 localize at the presynaptic and postsynaptic sides of synaptic junctions, respectively, and their trans-interactions play a role in formation of synapses in cooperation with N-cadherin. Nectins are associated with the actin cytoskeleton through afadin, a nectin- and actin-filament-binding protein. Five nectin-like molecules (Necls) which have domain structures similar to those of nectins have been identified and here we characterize Necl-1/TSLL1/SynCAM3, from now on referred to as Necl-1. Tissue distribution analysis showed that Necl-1 was specifically expressed in the neural tissue. Immunofluorescence and immunoelectron microscopy revealed that Necl-1 localized at the contact sites among axons, their terminals, and glia cell processes that cooperatively formed synapses, axon bundles and myelinated axons. Necl-1 showed Ca2+-independent homophilic cell-cell adhesion activity. It furthermore showed Ca2+-independent heterophilic cell-cell adhesion activity with Necl-2/IGSF4/RA175/SgIGSF/TSLC1/SynCAM1 from now on referred to as Necl-2, nectin-1 and nectin-3, but not with Necl-5 or nectin-2. The C-terminal cytoplasmic region of Necl-1 did not bind afadin but bound membrane-associated guanylate kinase subfamily members that contain the L27 domain, including Dlg3, Pals2 and CASK. These results indicate that Necl-1 is a neural-tissue-specific Ca2+-independent immunoglobulin-like cell-cell adhesion molecule which potentially has membrane-associated guanylate kinase subfamily member-binding activity and localizes at the non-junctional cell-cell contact sites.

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