Semaphorins are involved in a wide range of biological processes, including axon guidance, neuronal migration, angiogenesis, cardio- and osteo-genesis. Recently they have also been found to be important for immune response. Sema3A reduces the activation of T cells through its cell-surface receptors, including members of the neuropilin and plexin families. By contrast, Sema4D (CD100), which is expressed on the surface of T, B and dendritic cells, increases B cell and dendritic cell function using either plexin B1 or CD72 as receptors. The transmembrane protein Sema4A is involved in the activation of immune cells through interactions with Tim-2. Emerging evidence also indicates that additional semaphorins and related molecules seem to function in the reciprocal stimulation of T cells and antigen-presenting cells (APCs). This paper discusses the functions of these semaphorins in the immune system, focusing on their roles in T cell- APC interactions.
Keywords: Immune semaphorins, immune system, nervous system, semaphorin pathways, Sema-3A, Sema-4A, Sema-4D
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