Repulsive guidance molecule/neogenin: a novel ligand-receptor system playing multiple roles in neural development
The repulsive guidance molecule (RGM) is a membrane-bound protein originally isolated as an axon guidance molecule in the visual system. Recently, the transmembrane protein, neogenin, has been identified as the RGM receptor. In vitro analysis with retinal explants showed that RGM repels temporal retinal axons and collapses their growth cones through neogenin-mediated signaling. However, RGM and neogenin are also broadly expressed at the early embryonic stage, suggesting that they do not only control the guidance of visual axons. Gene expression perturbation experiments in chick embryos showed that neogenin induces cell death, and its ligand, RGM, blocks the pro-apoptotic activity of neogenin. Thus, RGM/neogenin is a novel dependence ligand/receptor couple as well as an axon guidance molecular complex.