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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2013 Mar;24(3):139-45. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2012.11.003. Epub 2012 Dec 17.

Structural insights into semaphorins and their receptors.

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Division of Structural Biology, The Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, Roosevelt Drive, Oxford OX3 7BN, UK.


Ten years ago nothing was known of the three-dimensional structure of members of the semaphorin family of cell guidance cues, nor of their major receptors, the plexins. The structural biology of this cell surface ligand-receptor system has now come of age. Detailed atomic level information is available on the architecture of semaphorin and plexin ectodomains and their recognition complexes. Similarly the structure of the plexin cytoplasmic region, and its interactions with members of the Rho family of small GTPases have been unveiled. These structural analyses, in combination with biochemical, biophysical and cellular studies, have progressed our understanding of this signalling system into the realm of molecular mechanism.

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