Neurotactin is a 135 kd membrane glycoprotein which consists of a core protein, with an apparent molecular weight of 120 kd, and of N-linked oligosaccharides. In vivo, the protein can be phosphorylated in presence of radioactive orthophosphate. Neurotactin expression in the larval CNS and in primary embryonic cell cultures suggests that it behaves as a contact molecule between neurons or epithelial cells. Electron microscopy studies reveal that neurotactin is uniformly expressed along the areas of contacts between cells, without, however, being restricted to a particular type of junction. It putative adhesive properties have been tested by transfecting non adhesive Drosophila S2 cells with neurotactin cDNA. Heat shocked transfected cells do not aggregate, suggesting that neurotactin does not mediate homophilic cell adhesion. However, these transfected cells bind to a subpopulation of embryonic cells which probably possess a related ligand. The location at cellular junctions between specific neurons or epithelial cells, the heterophilic binding to a putative ligand and the ability to be phosphorylated are consistent with the suggestion that neurotactin functions as an adhesion molecule.