The neural cadherin (N-cadherin) is a Ca2+-dependent cell-cell adhesion molecule detected in neural tissues as well as in non-neural tissues. We report here the nucleotide sequence of the chicken N-cadherin cDNA and the deduced amino acid sequence. The sequence data suggest that N-cadherin has one transmembrane domain which divides the molecule into an extracellular and a cytoplasmic domain; the extracellular domain contains internal repeats of characteristic sequences. When the N-cadherin cDNA connected with virus promoters was transfected into L cells which have no endogenous N-cadherin, the transformants acquired the N-cadherin-mediated aggregating property, indicating that the cloned cDNA contained all information necessary for the cell-cell binding action of this molecule. We then compared the primary structure of N-cadherin with that of other molecules defined as cadherin subclasses. The results showed that these molecules contain common amino acid sequences throughout their entire length, which confirms our hypothesis that cadherins make a gene family.

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