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FEBS Lett. 2000 Dec 1;486(1):68-72.

The semaphorin 3A receptor may directly regulate the activity of small GTPases.

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Molecular Neurogenetics Laboratory, Department of Neurochemistry, Max-Planck-Institute for Brain Research, Deutschordenstr. 46, D-60528, Frankfurt, Germany.


The axon guidance signal semaphorin 3A induces the rapid collapse of growth cones by activating a receptor complex that contains neuropilin-1 as the ligand-binding and a plexin as the signal-transducing subunit. Here we show that plexins bind Rho-like GTPases and may directly regulate their activity. The cytoplasmic domain of plexins shows sequence similarity to GTPase activating proteins (GAPs) and mutation of two arginines that correspond to the catalytic residues of Ras GAPs inactivates plexin-A1. Our data suggest that plexins may be integral membrane proteins with an intrinsic GAP activity that is essential for their ability to induce growth cone collapse.

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