NELL2 is a secreted glycoprotein that is widely expressed in neurons of the central and peripheral nervous systems, particularly in the hippocampus, hypothalamus, cerebral cortex, and cerebellar cortex. It is selectively expressed in VGAT1+ or VGAT2+ glutamatergic neurons. During development, NELL2 is expressed in select neural crest cells, retinal ganglion cells, and hypaxial muscle precursor cells of the dermomyotome. It promotes the differentiation and migration of both motor and sensory neurons, enhances neuronal survival, and promotes neuronal aggregation by inducing N-Cadherin upregulation. NELL2 supports the release of GnRH from the hypothalamus which is important for the onset of female puberty. NELL2 is additionally expressed in renal tubules but is downregulated in renal cancer.