We recently described the characterization and cloning of Drosophila neuroglian, a member of the immunoglobulin superfamily. Neuroglian contains six immunoglobulin-like domains and five fibronectin type III domains and shows strong sequence homology to the mouse neural cell adhesion molecule L1. Here we show that the neuroglian gene generates at least two different protein products by tissue-specific alternative splicing. The two protein forms differ in their cytoplasmic domains. The long form is restricted to the surface of neurons in the CNS and neurons and some support cells in the PNS; in contrast, the short form is expressed on a wide range of other cells and tissues. Thus, whereas the mouse L1 gene appears to encode only one protein that functions largely as a neural cell adhesion molecule, its Drosophila homolog, the neuroglian gene, encodes at least two protein forms that may play two different roles, one as a neural cell adhesion molecule and the other as a more general cell adhesion molecule involved in other tissues and imaginal disc morphogenesis.
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