Netrin 1 is a long-range diffusible factor that exerts chemoattractive or chemorepulsive effects on developing axons growing to or away from the neural midline. Here we used tissue explants to study the action of netrin 1 in the migration of several cerebellar and precerebellar cell progenitors. We show that netrin 1 exerts a strong chemoattractive effect on migrating neurons from the embryonic lower rhombic lip at E12-E14, which give rise to precerebellar nuclei. Netrin 1 promotes the exit of postmitotic migrating neurons from the embryonic lower rhombic lip and upregulates the expression of TAG-1 in these neurons. In addition, in the presence of netrin 1, the migrating neurons are not isolated but are associated with thick fascicles of neurites, typical of the neurophilic way of migration. In contrast, the embryonic upper rhombic lip, which contains tangentially migrating granule cell progenitors, did not respond to netrin 1. Finally, in the postnatal cerebellum, netrin 1 repels both the parallel fibres and migrating granule cells growing out from explants taken from the external germinal layer. The developmental patterns of expression in vivo of netrin 1 and its receptors are consistent with the notion that netrin 1 secreted in the midline acts as chemoattractive cue for precerebellar neurons migrating circumferentially along the extramural stream. Similarly, the pattern of expression in the postnatal cerebellum suggests that netrin 1 could regulate the tangential migration of postmitotic premigratory granule cells. Thus, molecular mechanisms considered as primarily involved in axonal guidance appear also to steer neuronal cell migration.