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EMBO Rep. 2009 Jun;10(6):614-21. doi: 10.1038/embor.2009.63. Epub 2009 May 15.

Plexin-B1 is a GTPase activating protein for M-Ras, remodelling dendrite morphology.

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Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology, Graduate School of Biostudies, Kyoto University, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan.


Plexins are receptors for axonal guidance molecules known as semaphorins. We recently reported that the semaphorin 4D (Sema4D) receptor, Plexin-B1, induces axonal growth cone collapse by functioning as an R-Ras GTPase activating protein (GAP). Here, we report that Plexin-B1 shows GAP activity for M-Ras, another member of the Ras family of GTPases. In cortical neurons, the expression of M-Ras was upregulated during dendritic development. Knockdown of endogenous M-Ras-but not R-Ras-reduced dendritic outgrowth and branching, whereas overexpression of constitutively active M-Ras, M-Ras(Q71L), enhanced dendritic outgrowth and branching. Sema4D suppressed M-Ras activity and reduced dendritic outgrowth and branching, but this reduction was blocked by M-Ras(Q71L). M-Ras(Q71L) stimulated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) activation, inducing dendrite growth, whereas Sema4D suppressed ERK activity and down-regulation of ERK was required for a Sema4D-induced reduction of dendrite growth. Thus, we conclude that Plexin-B1 is a dual functional GAP for R-Ras and M-Ras, remodelling axon and dendrite morphology, respectively.

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