Growth cones and neurites of chicken dorsal root ganglia neurons cultured on laminin, Ng-CAM, or axonin-1 exhibit substratum-dependent morphology and growth patterns which are accompanied by distinctive distributions of axonin-1 and Ng-CAM in the growth cone membrane. On either Ng-CAM or axonin-1 substratum, both Ng-CAM and axonin-1 were depleted from some areas of the apical growth cone membrane. In contrast, on laminin, both axonin-1 and Ng-CAM remained randomly distributed. Removal of axonin-1 from growth cones resulted in a blockage of neurite outgrowth on both Ng-CAM and axonin-1 substrata, indicating that in these neurons axonin-1 cooperates with Ng-CAM in the activation of axon growth. Based on these results possible molecular models for cooperation between axonin-1 and Ng-CAM on the growth cone are discussed.