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Dev Biol. 2004 Mar 1;267(1):153-64.

Temporal regulation of cerebellar EGL migration through a switch in cellular responsiveness to the meninges.

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Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


We have studied the temporal and spatial control of cell migration from the external germinal layer (EGL) in the mammalian cerebellum as a model for cortical migration. Our results have demonstrated that embryonic EGL cells do not migrate into internal layers because they respond to a diffusible attractant in the meninges, the nonneural tissues covering the nervous system, and to a repellent in the neuroepithelium. Two developmental changes are important for postnatal EGL migration: the disappearance of the repellent in the inner layers and a switch in cellular responsiveness of EGL cells so that the postnatal EGL cells respond to the repellent, but not the attractant in the meninges. Besides revealing the signaling role of meninges in cortical development, our study suggests that an active mechanism is required to prevent cell migration, and that mechanisms of cell migration should be studied even in the absence of apparent changes in cell positions. We propose a model for the developmental control of neuronal migration in the cerebellar cortex.

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