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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1986 May;83(9):3037-41.

Sequence of a cDNA clone encoding the polysialic acid-rich and cytoplasmic domains of the neural cell adhesion molecule N-CAM.

Erratum in

  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1988 Mar;85(6):2008.


Purified fractions of the neural cell-adhesion molecule N-CAM from embryonic chicken brain contain two similar polypeptides (Mr, 160,000 and 130,000), each containing an amino-terminal external binding region, a carbohydrate-rich central region, and a carboxyl-terminal region that is associated with the cell. Previous studies indicate that the two polypeptides arise by alternative splicing of mRNAs transcribed from a single gene. We report here the 3556-nucleotide sequence of a cDNA clone (pEC208) that encodes 964 amino acids from the carbohydrate and cell-associated domains of the larger N-CAM polypeptide followed by 664 nucleotides of 3' untranslated sequence. The predicted protein sequence contains attachment sites for polysialic acid-containing oligosaccharides, four tandem homologous regions of polypeptide resembling those seen in the immunoglobulin superfamily, and a single hydrophobic sequence that appears to be the membrane-spanning segment. The cytoplasmic domain carboxyl terminal to this segment includes a block of approximately equal to 250 amino acids present in the larger but not in the smaller N-CAM polypeptide. We designate these the ld (large domain) polypeptide and the sd (small domain) polypeptide. The intracellular domains of the ld and sd polypeptides are likely to be critical for cell-surface modulation of N-CAM by interacting in a differential fashion with other intrinsic proteins or with the cytoskeleton.

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