NODAL binds a receptor comprising a type I activin receptor (ACVR1B or ACVR1C), a type II activin receptor (ACVR2 or ACVR2B), and a EGF-CFC coreceptor (CRIPTO or CRYPTIC). Though NODAL is able to signal via the ACVR1C (ALK7) receptor (Reissman et al. 2001), experiments in mouse indicate NODAL signaling via ALK7 is dispensable during embryogenesis (Jornvall et al. 2004).
CERBERUS (CER1) and probably DAND5 (CER2, inferred from mouse homologs) forms heterodimers with NODAL, preventing NODAL from activating the NODAL receptor.
LEFTY1 and LEFTY2 bind the EGF-CFC coreceptor (CRIPTO or CRYPTIC) and prevent it from interacting with Activin type I and type II receptors, thereby interfering with the assembly of the NODAL receptor.