The cellular cues that guide neuronal growth cones toward their targets are highly conserved in such diverse organisms as insects and vertebrates. Evidence presented here suggests that the molecular mechanisms underlying these events may be equally conserved. This article describes the structure and function of fasciclin II, a glycoprotein expressed on a subset of fasciculating axons in the grasshopper embryo. Antibody perturbation experiments suggest that fasciclin II functions in mediating one form of neuronal recognition: selective fasciculation. Fasciclin II is a member of the immunoglobulin gene superfamily and is homologous in structure and function to the neural cell adhesion molecule N-CAM and to several other vertebrate cell adhesion molecules.
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