• ADAM-17;
  • guidance;
  • navigation;
  • proteolysis;
  • semaphorin


Developing neuronal growth cones respond to a number of post-transcriptionally modified guidance cues to establish functional neural networks. The Semaphorin family has well-established roles as both secreted and transmembrane guidance cues. Here, we describe the first evidence that a transmembrane Semaphorin, Semaphorin 5B (Sema5B), is proteolytically processed from its transmembrane form and can function as a soluble growth cone collapsing guidance cue. Over-expression of A Disintegrin and Metalloprotease (ADAM)-17, results in an enhanced release of the Sema5B ectodomain, while removal of a predicted ADAM-17 cleavage site prevents its release. In contrast, knockdown of ADAM-17 does not significantly reduce Sema5B release, indicating there are additional unknown compensating proteases. This modulation of the transmembrane Sema5B to a diffusible cue represents a sophisticated method to regulate neuronal guidance in vivo.