The immunoglobulin superfamily adhesion molecule close homolog of L1 (CHL1) plays important roles during nervous system development. Here, we identified the hedgehog receptor patched-1 (PTCH1) as a novel CHL1-binding protein and showed that CHL1 interacts with the first extracellular loop of PTCH1 via its extracellular domain. Colocalization and co-immunoprecipitation of CHL1 with PTCH1 suggest an association of CHL1 with this major component of the hedgehog signaling pathway. The trans-interaction of CHL1 with PTCH1 promotes neuronal survival in cultures of dissociated cerebellar granule cells and of organotypic cerebellar slices. An inhibitor of the PTCH1-regulated hedgehog signal transducer, smoothened (SMO), and inhibitors of RhoA and Rho-associated kinase (ROCK) 1 and 2 prevent CHL1-dependent survival of cultured cerebellar granule cells and survival of cerebellar granule and Purkinje cells in organotypic cultures. In histological sections from 10- and 14-day-old CHL1-deficient mice, enhanced apoptosis of granule, but not Purkinje, cells was observed. The results of the present study indicate that CHL1 triggers PTCH1-, SMO-, RhoA- and ROCK-dependent signal transduction pathways to promote neuronal survival after cessation of the major morphogenetic events during mouse cerebellar development.