Axonin-1 and NrCAM were previously shown to be involved in the in vivo guidance of commissural growth cones across the floor plate of the embryonic chicken spinal cord. To further characterize their role in axon pathfinding, we developed a two-dimensional coculture system of commissural and floor-plate explants in which it was possible to study the behavior of growth cones upon floor-plate contact. Although commissural axons readily entered the floor plate under control conditions, perturbations of either axonin-1 or NrCAM interactions prevented the growth cones from entering the floor-plate explants. The presence of antiaxonin-1 resulted in the collapse of commissural growth cones upon contact with the floor plate. The perturbation of NrCAM interactions also resulted in an avoidance of the floor plate, but without inducing growth-cone collapse. Therefore, axonin-1 and NrCAM are crucial for the contact-mediated interaction between commissural growth cones and the floor plate, which in turn is required for the proper guidance of the axons across the ventral midline and their subsequent rostral turn into the longitudinal axis.