The semaphorin family contains a large number of phylogenetically conserved proteins and includes several members that have been shown to function in repulsive axon guidance. Semaphorin II (Sema III) is a secreted protein that in vitro causes neuronal growth cone collapse and chemorepulsion of neurites, and in vivo is required for correct sensory afferent innervation and other aspects of development. The mechanism of Sema III function, however, is unknown. Here, we report that neuropilin, a type I transmembrane protein implicated in aspects of neurodevelopment, is a Sema III receptor. We also describe the identification of neuropilin-2, a related neuropilin family member, and show that neuropilin and neuropilin-2 are expressed in overlapping, yet distinct, populations of neurons in the rat embryonic nervous system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)