Open Access

The interaction between L1-type proteins and ankyrins - a master switch for L1-type CAM function

  • Michael Hortsch1Email author,
  • Kakanahalli Nagaraj1, 2 and
  • Tanja A. Godenschwege3
Cellular & Molecular Biology LettersAn International Journal200814:35

Received: 9 July 2008

Accepted: 3 September 2008

Published: 6 October 2008


L1-type cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) are important mediators of neural differentiation, including axonal outgrowth and pathfinding and also of synapse formation and maintenance. In addition, their interactions with cytoskeletal components are highly conserved and regulated. How these different aspects of CAM functionality relate to each other is not well understood. Based on results from our and other laboratories we propose that ankyrin-binding to L1-type CAMs provides a master switch. The interaction with ankyrins directs L1-type adhesive proteins into different functional contexts, either ankyrin-independent functions, such as neurite outgrowth and axonal pathfinding or into ankyrin-dependent functions, such as L1’s role at axon initial segments (AIS), paranodal regions, synapses and in dendrites.

Key words

Cell adhesion Ankyrins Membrane skeleton Tyrosine phosphorylation Neurite outgrowth Neuromuscular junction Synapse Synaptogenesis Drosophila