The cell adhesion molecule L1 and the extracellular matrix protein Reelin play crucial roles in the developing nervous system. Reelin is known to activate signalling cascades regulating neuronal migration by binding to lipoprotein receptors. However, the interaction of Reelin with adhesion molecules, such as L1, has remained poorly explored. Here, we report that full-length Reelin and its N-terminal fragments N-R2 and N-R6 bind to L1 and that full-length Reelin and its N-terminal fragment N-R6 proteolytically cleave L1 to generate an L1 fragment with a molecular mass of 80 kDa (L1-80). Expression of N-R6 and generation of L1-80 coincide in time at early developmental stages of the cerebral cortex. Reelin-mediated generation of L1-80 is involved in neurite outgrowth and in stimulation of migration of cultured cortical and cerebellar neurons. Morphological abnormalities in layer formation of the cerebral cortex of L1-deficient mice partially overlap with those of Reelin-deficient reeler mice. In utero electroporation of L1-80 into reeler embryos normalised the migration of cortical neurons in reeler embryos. The combined results indicate that the direct interaction between L1 and Reelin as well as the Reelin-mediated generation of L1-80 contribute to brain development at early developmental stages.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes