The neuronal cell adhesion molecule (CAM) L1 promotes axonal outgrowth, presumably through an interaction with the fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR). The present study demonstrates a direct interaction between L1 fibronectin type III (FN3) modules I–V and FGFR1 immunoglobulin (Ig) modules II and III by surface plasmon resonance analysis. Binding of L1 to FGFR1 was enhanced by adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP), adenylylmethylenediphosphonate (AMP-PCP), and guanosine-5′-triphosphate (GTP), but not adenosine monophosphate (AMP). The L1-FN3 modules were capable of activating FGFR1, reflected by receptor phosphorylation, and this resulted in the induction of differentiation of primary neurons, reflected by neurite outgrowth. Furthermore, ATP modulated L1-induced neuronal differentiation and FGFR1 phosphorylation through regulation of the L1–FGFR1 interaction.