Melanoma cell adhesion molecule (MCAM) (CD146) is a membrane glycoprotein of the mucin family. It is one of the numerous proteins composing the junction of the vascular endothelium, and it is expressed in other cell types such as cancer cells, smooth muscle cells, and pericytes. Some recent works were designed to highlight its structural features, its location in the endothelium, and its role in angiogenesis, vascular permeability, and monocyte transmigration, but also in the maintenance of endothelial junctions and tumor development. MCAM exists in different splice variants and is shedded from the vascular membrane by metalloproteases. Studies about MCAM spliced and cleaved variant on human angiogenic physiological and pathological models permit a better understanding on the roles initially described for this protein. Furthermore, this knowledge will help in the future to develop therapeutic and diagnostic tools targeting specifically the different MCAM variant. Recent advances in research on angiogenesis and in the implication of MCAM in this process are discussed in this chapter.
Part of the book: Physiologic and Pathologic Angiogenesis