Layering of neurons in the cerebral cortex and cerebellum requires Reelin, an extracellular matrix protein, and mammalian Disabled (mDab1), a cytosolic protein that activates tyrosine kinases. Here, we report the requirement for two other proteins, cell surface receptors termed very low density lipoprotein receptor (VLDLR) and apolipoprotein E receptor 2 (ApoER2). Both receptors can bind mDab1 on their cytoplasmic tails and are expressed in cortical and cerebellar layers adjacent to layers that express Reelin. mDab1 expression is upregulated in knockout mice that lack both VLDLR and ApoER2. Inversion of cortical layers and absence of cerebellar foliation in these animals precisely mimic the phenotype of mice lacking Reelin or mDab1. These findings suggest that VLDLR and ApoER2 participate in transmitting the extracellular Reelin signal to intracellular signaling processes initiated by mDab1.
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