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Trends Cardiovasc Med. 2012 Feb;22(2):44-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tcm.2012.06.010. Epub 2012 Jul 28.

Netrin ligands and receptors: lessons from neurons to the endothelium.

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Program in Molecular Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA.


Netrins were initially identified as secreted ligands regulating axon guidance and migration through interaction with canonical receptors. Netrins were then shown to be necessary for development of a range of tissues, including lung, mammary gland, and the vasculature. While new netrin receptors, as well as alternative ligands for classical netrin receptors, were described in the neuronal and epithelial fields, there was a singular focus on canonical netrin receptors in the vascular system, leading to controversy on netrin function and the nature of receptor-mediated netrin signaling in the endothelium. Here, we summarize the current state of knowledge on netrin ligands and receptors and discuss questions, controversies, and perspectives surrounding netrin functions and receptor identity in the vasculature.

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