The semaphorins

Center for Basic Neuroscience, Department of Pharmacology, NA4,301/5323 Harry Hines Blvd, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390, USA.
Genome biology (Impact Factor: 10.47). 02/2006; 7(3):211. DOI: 10.1186/gb-2006-7-3-211
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Semaphorins are secreted, transmembrane, and GPI-linked proteins, defined by cysteine-rich semaphorin protein domains, that have important roles in a variety of tissues. Humans have 20 semaphorins, Drosophila has five, and two are known from DNA viruses; semaphorins are also found in nematodes and crustaceans but not in non-animals. They are grouped into eight classes on the basis of phylogenetic tree analyses and the presence of additional protein motifs. The expression of semaphorins has been described most fully in the nervous system, but they are also present in most, or perhaps all, other tissues. Functionally, semaphorins were initially characterized for their importance in the development of the nervous system and in axonal guidance. More recently, they have been found to be important for the formation and functioning of the cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, hepatic, immune, musculoskeletal, renal, reproductive, and respiratory systems. A common theme in the mechanisms of semaphorin function is that they alter the cytoskeleton and the organization of actin filaments and the microtubule network. These effects occur primarily through binding of semaphorins to their receptors, although transmembrane semaphorins also serve as receptors themselves. The best characterized receptors for mediating semaphorin signaling are members of the neuropilin and plexin families of transmembrane proteins. Plexins, in particular, are thought to control many of the functional effects of semaphorins; the molecular mechanisms of semaphorin signaling are still poorly understood, however. Given the importance of semaphorins in a wide range of functions, including neural connectivity, angiogenesis, immunoregulation, and cancer, much remains to be learned about these proteins and their roles in pathology and human disease.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Despite a large and multifaceted effort to understand the vast landscape of phenotypic data, their current form inhibits productive data analysis. The lack of a community-wide, consensus-based, human- and machine-interpretable language for describing phenotypes and their genomic and environmental contexts is perhaps the most pressing scientific bottleneck to integration across many key fields in biology, including genomics, systems biology, development, medicine, evolution, ecology, and systematics. Here we survey the current phenomics landscape, including data resources and handling, and the progress that has been made to accurately capture relevant data descriptions for phenotypes. We present an example of the kind of integration across domains that computable phenotypes would enable, and we call upon the broader biology community, publishers, and relevant funding agencies to support efforts to surmount today's data barriers and facilitate analytical reproducibility.
    PLoS Biology 01/2015; DOI:10.1371/journal.pbio.1002033 · 12.69 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Introduction: Semaphorins have been originally identified as a family of evolutionary conserved soluble or membrane-associated proteins involved in diverse developmental phenomena. This family of proteins profoundly influences numerous pathophysiological processes, including organogenesis, cardiovascular development and immune response. Apart from steering the neural networking process, these are implicated in a broad range of biological operations including regulation of tumor progression and angiogenesis. Areas covered: Members of class 3 semaphorin family are known to modulate various cellular processes involved in malignant transformation. Some of the family members trigger diverse signaling processes involved in tumor progression and angiogenesis by binding with plexin and neuropilin. A better understanding of the various signaling mechanisms by which semaphorins modulate tumor progression and angiogenesis may serve as crucial tool in crafting new semaphorin-based anticancer therapy. These include treatment with recombinant tumor suppressive semaphorins or inhibition of tumor-promoting semaphorins by their specific siRNAs, small-molecule inhibitors or specific receptors using neutralizing antibodies or blocking peptides that might serve as novel strategies for effective management of cancers. Expert opinion: This review focuses on all the possible avenues to explore various members of class 3 semaphorin family to serve as therapeutics for combating cancer.
    Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets 11/2014; 19(3):1-16. DOI:10.1517/14728222.2014.986095 · 4.90 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Plexins are the primary receptors of semaphorins, and participate in the majority of intracellular pathways triggered by semaphorins, including the regulation of cell adhesion and the motility of numerous cell types. Recently, several studies have reported that plexins can significantly affect different aspects of cancer cell biology, and the aberrant expression of plexins has been observed in a wide variety of tumor types. However, the expression and role of plexin-B3 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is yet to be investigated. In the present study, plexin-B3 expression was measured in 14 paired HCC samples and the corresponding adjacent non-cancerous tissue by quantitative polymerase chain reaction and western blot analysis. The results indicated that the mRNA and protein expression levels of plexin-B3 were downregulated in HCC samples when compared with the corresponding adjacent non-cancerous tissue. In order to elucidate the correlation between clinicopathological data and the expression of plexin-B3 in patients with HCC, 84 HCC archived specimens were analyzed by immunohistochemistry (IHC). The IHC results revealed that the protein expression level of plexin-B3 was lower in the HCC samples compared with the corresponding adjacent non-cancerous tissue, and plexin-B3 underexpression was correlated with the patient gender and tumor size. In conclusion, these results indicated that loss of plexin-B3 in HCC may be of predictive value for the occurrence and progression of HCC. Thus, plexin-B3 may be a promising biomarker for the diagnosis and treatment of tumors in the future.
    Experimental and therapeutic medicine 04/2015; 9(4):1247-1252. DOI:10.3892/etm.2015.2243 · 0.94 Impact Factor