Role of the reelin signaling pathway in central nervous system development

Annu Rev Neurosci. 2001;24:1005-39. doi: 10.1146/annurev.neuro.24.1.1005.


The neurological mutant mouse reeler has played a critical role in the evolution of our understanding of normal brain development. From the earliest neuroanatomic studies of reeler, it was anticipated that the characterization of the gene responsible would elucidate important molecular and cellular principles governing cell positioning and the formation of synaptic circuits in the developing brain. Indeed, the identification of reelin has challenged many of our previous notions and has led to a new vision of the events involved in the migration of neurons. Several neuronal populations throughout the brain secrete Reelin, which binds to transmembrane receptors located on adjacent cells triggering a tyrosine kinase cascade. This allows neurons to complete migration and adopt their ultimate positions in laminar structures in the central nervous system. Recent studies have also suggested a role for the Reelin pathway in axonal branching, synaptogenesis, and pathology underlying neurodegeneration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal / genetics
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal / physiology*
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / genetics
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Neurologic Mutants
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Serine Endopeptidases
  • Signal Transduction
  • Synapses / physiology


  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Serine Endopeptidases
  • reelin protein