We have identified two novel postsynaptic membrane proteins that are highly similar to calsyntenin-1 in their extracellular parts but vary considerably in their cytoplasmic segment. Calsyntenin-1 has recently been identified in our lab as a postsynaptic membrane protein with a highly acidic cytoplasmic segment with putative Ca(2+)-binding capacity (Vogt et al., 2001, Mol. Cell. Neurosci. 17: 151-166). Based on their structural similarity to calsyntenin-1, we have called the novel proteins calsyntenin-2 and -3, respectively. By immunoelectron microscopy, the calsyntenin protein family was localized in the postsynaptic membrane of excitatory central nervous system (CNS) synapses. In situ hybridization analysis revealed that calsyntenin-1 was abundant in most neurons of the CNS with relatively little variation in its expression level. Calsyntenin-2 and -3 expressions varied much more with highest levels in GABAergic neurons. Based on their distinct expression patterns and the differences in their cytoplasmic segments, we suggest a cell-type-specific functional role for the three calsyntenins in excitatory synaptic transmission.