Cadherins are a family of Ca2+-dependent intercellular adhesion molecules. Complementary DNAs encoding mouse neural cadherin (N-cadherin) were cloned, and the cell binding specificity of this molecule was examined. Mouse N-cadherin shows 92 percent similarity in amino acid sequence to the chicken homolog, while it shows 49 percent and 43 percent similarity to epithelial cadherin and to placental cadherin of the same species, respectively. In cell binding assays, mouse N-cadherin did not cross-react with other mouse cadherins, but it did cross-react with chicken N-cadherin. The results indicate that each cadherin type confers distinct adhesive specificities on different cells, and also that the specificity of N-cadherin is conserved between mammalian and avian cells.

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