Neuropilin-1 conveys semaphorin and VEGF signaling during neural and cardiovascular development.
(Johns Hopkins University and School of Medicine)
Dev Cell. 2003 Jul . 5(1):45-57.
Neuropilin-1 (Npn-1) is a receptor that binds multiple ligands from structurally distinct families, including secreted semaphorins (Sema) and vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGF). We generated npn-1 knockin mice, which express an altered ligand binding site variant of Npn-1, and npn-1 conditional null mice to establish the cell-type- and ligand specificity of Npn-1 function in the developing cardiovascular and nervous systems. Our results show that VEGF-Npn-1 signaling in endothelial cells is required for angiogenesis. In striking contrast, Sema-Npn-1 signaling is not essential for general vascular development but is required for axonal pathfinding by several populations of neurons in the CNS and PNS. Remarkably, both Sema-Npn-1 signaling and VEGF-Npn-1 signaling are critical for heart development. Therefore, Npn-1 is a multifunctional receptor that mediates the activities of structurally distinct ligands during development of the heart, vasculature, and nervous system.