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Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2007 Apr;8(4):296-306. Epub 2007 Mar 14.

Netrins: beyond the brain.

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University of California San Diego, Department of Pediatrics, National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research, Whittier Institute for Diabetes, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


Named after the Sanskrit word netr, which means 'one who guides', the netrin family of secreted proteins provides migrational cues in the developing central nervous system. Recently, netrins have also been shown to regulate diverse processes (such as cell adhesion, motility, proliferation, differentiation and, ultimately, cell survival) in a number of non-neuronal tissues. In some cases, netrins affect these functions through non-classic netrin receptors, prompting a renewed interest in these factors in and beyond the nervous system.

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