Reelin is a large extracellular protein that controls cortical development. It binds to lipoprotein receptors very-low-density lipoprotein receptor and apolipoprotein-E receptor type 2, thereby inducing phosphorylation of the adapter Dab 1. In vivo, Reelin is cleaved into three fragments, but their respective function is unknown. Here we show the following: (1) the central fragment is necessary and sufficient for receptor binding in vitro and for Dab1 phosphorylation in neuronal cultures; (2) Reelin does not bind the protocadherin cadherin-related neuronal receptor (CNR1) as reported previously; (3) Reelin and its central fragment are equally able to rescue the reeler phenotype in a slice culture assay; and (4) anti-receptor antibodies can induce Dab1 phosphorylation but do not correct the reeler phenotype in slices. These observations show that the function of Reelin is critically dependent on the central fragment generated by processing but primarily independent of interactions with CNR1 and on the N-terminal region. They also indicate that events acting in parallel to Dab 1 phosphorylation might be required for full activity.
- Cortical development
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