Lectin affinity chromatography combined with mAb production was used to identify chick neural cell surface molecules related to L1 antigen, a mouse neural glycoprotein implicated in cell-cell adhesion (Rathjen, F. G., and M. Schachner, 1984, EMBO (Eur. Mol. Biol. Organ.) J., 3:1-10). A glycoprotein, G4 antigen, isolated by mAb G4 from adult chick brain is described which comprises a major 135-kD component, a minor doublet at 190 kD, and diffusely migrating bands at 80 and 65 kD in SDS PAGE. This molecule is structurally related to mouse L1 antigen according to NH2-terminal amino acid sequence (50% identity) as well as the behavior of its components in two-dimensional IEF/SDS PAGE gels. A second chicken glycoprotein, F11 antigen, was isolated from adult chick brain using mAb F11. This protein has also a major 135-kD component and minor components at 170 kD and 120 kD. Both immunotransfer analysis with polyclonal antibodies to mAb G4 and to mAb F11 isolate and the behavior on IEF/SDS PAGE gels indicates that the major 135-kD component of F11 antigen is distinct from G4 antigen components. However, the 135-kD component of F11 antigen shares with G4 antigen and the neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) the HNK-1/L2 carbohydrate epitope. In immunofluorescence studies, G4 and F11 antigenic sites were found to be associated mainly with the surface of process-bearing cells, particularly in fiber-rich regions of embryonic brain. Although Fab fragments of polyclonal antibodies to mAbs G4 or F11 immunoaffinity isolate only weakly inhibit the Ca2+-independent aggregation of neural cells, they strongly inhibit fasciculation of retinal axons. Together these studies extend the evidence that bundling of axons reflects the combined effects of a group of distinct cell surface glycoproteins.

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