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Keywords:

  • semaphorin;
  • neuropilin;
  • Xenopus;
  • neural crest;
  • convergent extension

Abstract

Semaphorins are major regulators of morphogenesis and are involved in a variety of processes ranging from the guidance of cell migration to the development of cancer. Since semaphorins were first characterized as repulsive neuronal guidance cues, their expression has been best documented in the nervous system. However, broader studies are lacking. Here, we describe the expression of 13 members of the semaphorin family and two neuropilin receptors during early Xenopus laevis development. No particular expression pattern defines any of the semaphorin classes, but many are dynamically expressed in distinct areas undergoing morphogenetic cell movements like the developing mesoderm and the migrating neural crest. Furthermore, the complementary expression patterns of Sema3A/Nrp1 and Sema3F/Nrp2 are maintained across hundreds of millions of years, possibly indicating a conserved role in the guidance of migrating neural crest cells. Developmental Dynamics 237:3853–3863, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.