Extracellular matrix functions during neuronal migration and lamination in the mammalian central nervous system

Santos J. Franco, Ulrich Müller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Extracellular matrix (ECM) glycoproteins are expressed in the central nervous system (CNS) in complex and developmentally regulated patterns. The ECM provides a number of critical functions in the CNS, contributing both to the overall structural organization of the CNS and to control of individual cells. At the cellular level, the ECM affects its functions by a wide range of mechanisms, including providing structural support to cells, regulating the activity of second messenger systems, and controlling the distribution and local concentration of growth and differentiation factors. Perhaps the most well known role of the ECM is as a substrate on which motile cells can migrate. Genetic, cell biological, and biochemical studies provide strong evidence that ECM glycoproteins such as laminins, tenascins, and proteoglycans control neuronal migration and positioning in several regions of the developing and adult brain. Recent findings have also shed important new insights into the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which reelin regulates migration. Here we will summarize these findings, emphasizing the emerging concept that ECM glycoproteins promote different modes of neuronal migration such as radial, tangential, and chain migration. We also discuss several studies demonstrating that mutations in ECM glycoproteins can alter neuronal positioning by cell nonautonomous mechanisms that secondarily affect migrating neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)889-900
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopmental Neurobiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Extracellular matrix
  • Nervous system
  • Neuronal migration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Extracellular matrix functions during neuronal migration and lamination in the mammalian central nervous system'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this