The IgLONs are a family of glycosyl phosphatidyl inositol-linked cell adhesion molecules which are thought to modify neurite outgrowth and may play a role in cell-cell recognition. The family consists of LAMP, OBCAM, neurotrimin/CEPU-1 and neurotractin/kilon. In this paper we report the effect of recombinant LAMP, CEPU-1 and OBCAM, and transfected cell lines expressing these molecules, on the adhesion and outgrowth of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) and sympathetic neurones. CHO cells transfected with cDNA for CEPU-1 adhered to a recombinant CEPU-1-Fc substrate. However, DRG or sympathetic neurones only adhered to CEPU-1-Fc when presented on protein A. Although DRG and sympathetic neurones express IgLONs on their surface, both types of neurones exhibited differential adhesion to CEPU-1-Fc, LAMP-Fc and OBCAM-Fc. Neither DRG nor sympathetic neurones extended neurites on a protein A/IgLON-Fc substrate and overexpression of CEPU-1-GFP in DRG neurones also failed to stimulate neurite outgrowth on an IgLON-Fc substrate. DRG neurones adhered to and extended neurites equally on transfected and non-transfected cell lines and the recombinant proteins did not modulate the outgrowth of neurones on laminin. In contrast to previous reports we suggest that IgLONs may not have a primary role in axon guidance but may be more important for cell-cell adhesion and recognition.