Polysialic acid is a long homopolymer of sialic acid that is negatively charged and is attached to neural cell adhesion molecule (CD56) and serves as a regulator of NCAM function. PSA attachment to NCAM is associated with inhibited adhesion of neural cells. PSA-NCAM expression is highly regulated and corresponds to specific neural developmental windows in which neural precursors are migrating and during the process of axonal sprouting, guidance, and targeting. PSA-NCAM expression is prevalent during development of the brain, but in the adult becomes restricted to regions undergoing self-renewal or exhibiting plasticity such as the olfactory bulb, suprachiasmatic nucleus, hippocampus, hypothalamus, and specific spinal cord nuclei. PSA-NCAM is re-expressed during tumorigenesis and is also expressed on cell lines isolated from neuroblastomas and pheochromocytomas.
NCAM-1; NCAM1; Polysialylated NCAM; Polysialylated-neural cell adhesion molecule; PSA NCAM
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