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Blood. 2005 Jun 1;105(11):4321-9. Epub 2005 Jan 4.

Sema4D induces angiogenesis through Met recruitment by Plexin B1.

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  • 1Division of Molecular Oncology, Department of Oncological Sciences, IRCC, Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment, University of Torino School of Medicine, Strada Provinciale 142 10060, Candiolo, Torino, Italy.


Semaphorins, a large family of membrane-bound and secreted proteins, signal through their transmembrane receptors, the plexins. Semaphorins and plexins share structural homologies with scatter factor receptors, a family of tyrosine kinase receptors for which Met is the prototype. Semaphorins have been studied primarily in the developing nervous system, where they act as repelling cues in axon guidance. However, they are widely expressed in several tissues, and their role in epithelial morphogenesis has been recently established. Not much is known about their role in angiogenesis, a key step during embryonic development and adulthood. Here we demonstrate that a semaphorin, Sema4D, is angiogenic in vitro and in vivo and that this effect is mediated by its high-affinity receptor, Plexin B1. Moreover, we prove that biologic effects elicited by Plexin B1 require coupling and activation of the Met tyrosine kinase. In sum, we identify a proangiogenic semaphorin and provide insight about the signaling machinery exploited by Plexin B1 to control angiogenesis.

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