Neural cell adhesion molecule regulates the cellular response to fibroblast growth factor

Chiara Francavilla, Sébastien Loeffler, Daniele Piccini, Angelika Kren, Gerhard Christofori, Ugo Cavallaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) mediates cell-cell adhesion and signaling in the nervous system, yet NCAM is also expressed in non-neural tissues, in which its function has in most parts remained elusive. We have previously reported that NCAM stimulates cell-matrix adhesion and neurite outgrowth by activating fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) signaling. Here, we investigated whether the interplay between NCAM and FGFR has any impact on the response of FGFR to its classical ligands, FGFs. To this end, we employed two fibroblast cell lines, NCAM-negative L cells and NCAM-positive NIH-3T3 cells, in which the expression of NCAM was manipulated by means of transfection or RNAi technologies, respectively. The results demonstrate that NCAM expression reduces FGF-stimulated ERK1/2 activation, cell proliferation and cell-matrix adhesion, in both L and NIH-3T3 cells. Furthermore, our data show that NCAM inhibits the binding of FGF to its high-affinity receptor in a competitive manner, providing the mechanisms for the NCAM-mediated suppression of FGF function. In this context, a small peptide that mimics the binding of NCAM to FGFR was sufficient to block FGF-dependent cell proliferation. These findings point to NCAM as being a major regulator of FGF-FGFR interaction, thus introducing a novel type of control mechanism for FGFR activity and opening new therapeutic perspectives for those diseases characterized by aberrant FGFR function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4388-4394
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - Dec 15 2007


  • Fibroblast growth factor receptor
  • Neural cell adhesion molecule
  • Receptor binding
  • Signaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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