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J Cell Biol. 2000 Oct 16;151(2):221-34.

A novel member of the netrin family, beta-netrin, shares homology with the beta chain of laminin: identification, expression, and functional characterization.

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Cutaneous Biology Research Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129, USA.


The netrins are a family of laminin-related molecules. Here, we characterize a new member of the family, beta-netrin. beta-Netrin is homologous to the NH(2) terminus of laminin chain short arms; it contains a laminin-like domain VI and 3.5 laminin EGF repeats and a netrin C domain. Unlike other netrins, this new netrin is more related to the laminin beta chains, thus, its name beta-netrin. An initial analysis of the tissue distribution revealed that kidney, heart, ovary, retina, and the olfactory bulb were tissues of high expression. We have expressed the molecule in a eukaryotic cell expression system and made antibodies to the expressed product. Both in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry were used to describe the cellular source of beta-netrin and where beta-netrin is deposited. beta-Netrin is a basement membrane component; it is present in the basement membranes of the vasculature, kidney, and ovaries. In addition, beta-netrin is expressed in a limited set of fiber tracts within the brain, including the lateral olfactory tract and the vomeronasal nerve. Functional studies were performed and show that beta-netrin promotes neurite elongation from olfactory bulb explants. Together, these data suggest that beta-netrin is important in neural, kidney, and vascular development.

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