The Semaphorins comprise a large family of secreted and transmembrane proteins, some of which function as repellents during axon guidance. Semaphorins fall into seven subclasses. Neuropilins are neuronal receptors for class III Semaphorins. In the immune system, VESPR, a member of the Plexin family, is a receptor for a viral-encoded Semaphorin. Here, we identify two Drosophila Plexins, both of which are expressed in the developing nervous system. We present evidence that Plexin A is a neuronal receptor for class I Semaphorins (Sema 1a and Sema 1b) and show that Plexin A controls motor and CNS axon guidance. Plexins, which themselves contain complete Semaphorin domains, may be both the ancestors of classical Semaphorins and binding partners for Semaphorins.
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)