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Semaphorins at the Interface of Development and Cancer

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Semaphorins (Semas), a family of evolutionarily conserved secreted and transmembrane proteins, were initially identified as axon guidance regulators and have since been implicated in the development of a number of other tissues. Sema signaling also regulates a variety of processes that are linked to cancer (i.e. metastasis, cell migration, cell growth). The mechanisms by which Sema signaling regulates axonogenesis and tumorigenesis are strikingly similar, making advances in either field applicable to the alternate discipline. Here, recent advances in understanding the roles of Semas in development and cancer, as well as the therapeutic potential for targeting this signaling pathway in human cancers, are reviewed.

Keywords: Plexin; Semaphorin; axon guidance; cancer; development

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-07-01

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  • Current Drug Targets aims to cover the latest and most outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry and pharmacology of molecular drug targets e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will be devoted to a single timely topic, with series of in-depth reviews, written by leaders in the field, covering a range of current topics on drug targets. These issues will be organized and led by a guest editor who is a recognized expert in the overall topic. As the discovery, identification, characterisation and validation of novel human drug targets for drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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