Jpn. J. Pharmacol. 82 (4), 273-279 (2000)

-Current Perspective-
Functions of Semaphorins in Axon Guidance and Neuronal Regeneration

Yoshio Goshima1,2, Yukio Sasaki1, Takashi Nakayama3, Takaaki Ito4 and Toru Kimura5

Departments of 1Pharmacology, 3Biochemistry and 4Pathology, Yokohama City University School of Medicine,
Yokohama 236-0004, Japan
2CREST,╩Japan Science and Technology Corporation (JST)
5Sumitomo╩Pharmaceuticals Research Center, 3-1-98, Kasugade-Naka, Konohana, Osaka 554-0022, Japan

Abstract: The semaphorin family comprises secreted and transmembrane signaling proteins that function in the nervous, immune, respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Sema3A, a secreted type of semaphorin, is now recognized as the most potent repulsive molecule inhibiting or repelling neurite outgrowth. The biological actions of Sema3A are mediated via neuropilin (Npn)-1, a receptor or one of the components of a receptor complex for Sema3A. Although the molecular mechanisms of Sema3A-Npn-1 signaling are largely unknown, a pertussis toxin-sensitive trimeric G╩protein(s), Rac-1, collapsin response mediator protein (CRMP), cyclic nucleotides and tyrosine kinase(s) have been implicated as essential and/or modulatory components of these processes. As repulsive molecules could be impediments to axon outgrowth, determining how these repulsive molecules exert their actions has the potential of uncovering new therapeutic approaches to injury and/or degeneration of neuronal tissues.

Keywords: Semaphorin, Neuropilin, Axon guidance, Growth cone, Neuroregeneration

Copyrightę The Japanese Pharmacological Society 2000

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