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J Neurobiol. 1996 Jan;29(1):1-17.

Developmentally regulated expression of a cell surface protein, neuropilin, in the mouse nervous system.

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1
Department of Molecular Biology, School of Science, Nagoya University, Japan.

Abstract

Neuropilin (previously A5) is a cell surface glycoprotein that was originally identified in Xenopus tadpole nervous tissues. In Xenopus, neuropilin is expressed on both the presynaptic and postsynaptic elements in the visual and general somatic sensory systems, suggesting a role in neuronal cell recognition. In this study, we identified a mouse homologue of neuropilin and examined its expression in developing mouse nervous tissues. cDNA cloning and sequencing revealed that the primary structure of the mouse neuropilin was highly similar to that of Xenopus and that the extracellular segment of the molecule possessed several motifs that were expected to be involved in cell-cell interaction. Immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization analyses in mice indicated that the expression of neuropilin was restricted to particular neuron circuits. Neuropilin protein was localized on axons but not on the somata of neurons. The expression of neuropilin persisted through the time when axons were actively growing to form neuronal connections. These observations suggest that neuropilin is involved in growth, fasciculation, and targeting for a particular groups of axons.

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