Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) is a small serine/threonine kinase that plays a pivotal role during development of the CNS. Cables, a novel protein, interacts with Cdk5 in brain lysates. Cables also binds to and is a substrate of the c-Abl tyrosine kinase. Active c-Abl kinase leads to Cdk5 tyrosine phosphorylation, and this phosphorylation is enhanced by Cables. Phosphorylation of Cdk5 by c-Abl occurs on tyrosine 15 (Y15), which is stimulatory for p35/Cdk5 kinase activity. Expression of antisense Cables in primary cortical neurons inhibited neurite outgrowth. Furthermore, expression of active Abl resulted in lengthening of neurites. The data provide evidence for a Cables-mediated interplay between the Cdk5 and c-Abl signaling pathways in the developing nervous system.