1 Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet2 unknown3 Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet
Cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) constitute a large class of plasma membrane-anchored proteins that mediate attachment between neighboring cells and between cells and the surrounding extracellular matrix (ECM). However, CAMs are more than simple mediators of cell adhesion. The neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) is a well characterized, ubiquitously expressed CAM that is highly expressed in the nervous system. In addition to mediating cell adhesion, NCAM participates in a multitude of cellular events, including survival, migration, and differentiation of cells, outgrowth of neurites, and formation and plasticity of synapses. NCAM shares an overall sequence identity of approximately 44% with the neural cell adhesion molecule 2 (NCAM2), a protein also known as olfactory cell adhesion molecule (OCAM) and Rb-8 neural cell adhesion molecule (RNCAM), and the region-for-region sequence homology between the two proteins suggests that they are transcribed from paralogous genes. However, very little is known about the function of NCAM2, although it originally was described more than 20 years ago. In this review we summarize the known properties and functions of NCAM2 and describe some of the differences and similarities between NCAM and NCAM2.