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Nat Neurosci. 2003 Dec;6(12):1270-6. Epub 2003 Nov 2.

The netrin-G1 ligand NGL-1 promotes the outgrowth of thalamocortical axons.

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  • 1Rinat Neuroscience Corporation, 3155 Porter Drive, Palo Alto, California 94304, USA.


Netrin-G1 is a lipid-anchored protein that is structurally related to the netrin family of axon guidance molecules. Netrin-G1 does not bind any of the known netrin receptors and its function is not known. Here we identify human netrin-G1 ligand (NGL-1), a transmembrane protein containing leucine-rich repeat (LRR) and immunoglobulin (Ig) domains that specifically interacts with netrin-G1 through its LRR region. Whereas netrin-G1 is expressed highly in mouse thalamic axons, NGL-1 is most abundant in the striatum and the cerebral cortex--the intermediate and final targets, respectively, of thalamocortical axons (TCAs). Surface-bound NGL-1 stimulates, but soluble NGL-1 disrupts, the growth of embryonic thalamic axons, and in vitro data indicate that NGL-1 activity may be mediated at least partially by netrin-G1. Our findings provide evidence that netrin-G1 functions as an important component of the NGL-1 receptor to promote TCA outgrowth and that membrane-bound netrins can participate in receiving axonal signaling pathways.

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