The neuron-glia cell adhesion molecule (Ng-CAM) has been identified in mammalian brain tissue and PC12 pheochromocytoma cells as Mr 200,000 and Mr 230,000 species, respectively. When PC12 cells were treated with nerve growth factor (NGF), the amount of Ng-CAM at the cell surface was increased approximately threefold, whereas the amount of the neural cell adhesion molecule (N-CAM) remained unchanged. An NGF-inducible large external glycoprotein (NILE) has been previously identified by its enhanced expression in NGF-treated PC12 cells. Ng-CAM and NILE are similar in molecular weight, expression during development, and responsiveness to NGF in PC12 cells, suggesting that the two molecules are related. In addition, antibodies to Ng-CAM and NILE cross-reacted and the molecules had similar peptide maps after limited proteolysis. Moreover, antibodies to Ng-CAM inhibited fasciculation of neurites, a functional property shared with NILE. The results show that cell adhesion molecules can respond selectively to growth factors and suggest that NILE is, in fact, mammalian Ng-CAM.

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