Glycerophospholipids, the structural components of cell membranes, have not been considered to be spatial cues for intercellular signaling because of their ubiquitous distribution. We identified lyso-phosphatidyl-b-D-glucoside (LysoPtdGlc), a hydrophilic glycerophospholipid, and demonstrated its role in modality-specific repulsive guidance of spinal cord sensory axons. LysoPtdGlc is locally synthesized and released by radial glia in a patterned spatial distribution to regulate the targeting of nociceptive but not proprioceptive central axon projections. Library screening identified the G protein-coupled receptor GPR55 as a high-affinity receptor for LysoPtdGlc, and GPR55 deletion or LysoPtdGlc loss of function in vivo caused the misallocation of nociceptive axons into proprioceptive zones. These findings show that LysoPtdGlc/GPR55 is a lipid-based signaling system in glia-neuron communication for neural development.
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