A reexamination of the expression of cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) during the development of the chicken embryo was carried out using more sensitive immunocytochemical techniques than had been used previously. While the previously determined sequence of CAM expression was confirmed, neural CAM (N-CAM) was also detected on endodermal structures such as the lung epithelium, gut epithelium, and pancreas and on budding structures such as the pancreatic duct and gall bladder. It was also found on ectodermal derivatives of the skin. In most of these sites, N-CAM expression was transient, but in the chicken embryo lung, the epithelium remained positive for N-CAM and liver CAM (L-CAM) into adult life. Thus, at one time or another, both of these primary CAMs can be expressed on derivatives of all three germ layers. At sites of embryonic induction, epithelial cells expressing both L-CAM and N-CAM, or L-CAM only, were apposed to mesenchymal cells expressing N-CAM. Examples included epiblast (NL) and notochord (N); endodermal epithelium (NL) and lung mesenchyme (N); Wolffian duct (NL) and mesonephric mesenchyme (N); apical ectodermal ridge (NL) and limb mesenchyme (N); and feather placode (L) and dermal condensation (N). The cumulative observations indicate that cell surface modulation of the primary CAMs at induction sites can be classified into two modes. In mode I, expression of N-CAM (or both CAMs) in mesenchyme decreases to low amounts at the cell surface, and then N-CAM is reexpressed. In mode II, one or the other CAM disappears from epithelia expressing both CAMs. As a result of the primary processes of development, collectives of cells linked by N-CAM and undergoing modulation mode I are brought into the proximity of collectives of cells linked by L-CAM plus N-CAM or by L-CAM undergoing modulation mode II. Such adjoining cell collectives or CAM couples were found at all sites of embryonic induction examined.