Lateral mobility and localization in the surface membrane of the adhesion molecule L1 was studied in morphologically undifferentiated and differentiated neuroblastoma cells to gain insight into its possible association with the different molecular forms of N-CAM. In undifferentiated cells, the fraction of mobile L1 molecules is high and similar to that of N-CAM 140. Upon long-term morphological differentiation, the fraction of mobile L1 molecules is reduced by a factor of three and is similar to that of N-CAM 180, the predominant molecular form of N-CAM in differentiated neuroblastoma cells. Comparable to N-CAM 180, L1 is also preferentially accumulated at contact sites between these cells as seen by indirect immunofluorescence. These observations raise the question of whether at least part of the L1 molecules may be directly or indirectly (e.g. via N-CAM 180) linked to the cytoskeleton, thus stabilizing cell contacts between differentiated cells.