Cajal-Retzius cells instruct neuronal migration by coincidence signaling between secreted and contact-dependent guidance cues.
Gil-Sanz C., Franco SJ., Martinez-Garay I., Espinosa A., Harkins-Perry S., Müller U.
Cajal-Retzius (CR) cells are a transient cell population of the CNS that is critical for brain development. In the neocortex, CR cells secrete reelin to instruct the radial migration of projection neurons. It has remained unexplored, however, whether CR cells provide additional molecular cues important for brain development. Here, we show that CR cells express the immunoglobulin-like adhesion molecule nectin1, whereas neocortical projection neurons express its preferred binding partner, nectin3. We demonstrate that nectin1- and nectin3-mediated interactions between CR cells and migrating neurons are critical for radial migration. Furthermore, reelin signaling to Rap1 promotes neuronal Cdh2 function via nectin3 and afadin, thus directing the broadly expressed homophilic cell adhesion molecule Cdh2 toward mediating heterotypic cell-cell interactions between neurons and CR cells. Our findings identify nectins and afadin as components of the reelin signaling pathway and demonstrate that coincidence signaling between CR cell-derived secreted and short-range guidance cues direct neuronal migration.