The molecular diversification of cell surface molecules has long been postulated to impart specific surface identities on neuronal cell types. The existence of unique cell surface identities would allow neurons to distinguish one another and connect with their appropriate target cells. Although progress has been made in identifying cell type-specific surface molecule repertoires and in characterizing their extracellular interactions, determining how this molecular diversity contributes to the precise wiring of neural circuitry has proven challenging. Here, we review the role of the cadherin, neurexin, immunoglobulin and leucine-rich repeat protein superfamilies in the specification of connectivity. The emerging evidence suggests that the concerted actions of these proteins may critically contribute to the assembly of neural circuits.