Cellular and Molecular Biology



The plexin-B family and its role in cancer progression

Muhammad Faraz Arshad Malik, Lin Ye and Wen G. Jiang

Metastasis and Angiogenesis Research Group, Cardiff University School of Medicine, Cardiff,UK.

Offprint requests to: Professor Wen G Jiang, Metastasis and Angiogenesis Research Group, Cardiff University School of Medicine, Heath Park, Cardiff CF14 4XN, UK. e-mail: jiangw@cf.ac.uk

Summary. Plexins are transmembrane protein receptors for semaphorin molecules. These molecules are involved in numerous cellular activities related to cell proliferation, adhesion along with the basement membrane, cellular motility and invasive capability. All nine members of Plexins identified in vertebrates have been grouped into subclasses, termed Plexin-A, Plexin-B, Plexin-C and Plexin-D. Plexin-B consists of three members, namely Plexin-B1, Plexin-B2 and Plexin-B3. Plexin-B1 functionally interacts with Sema4A (Yukawa et al., 2010) and can also form heterodimer with Plexin-B2 for Sema4A binding (Nkyimbeng-Takwi and Chapoval, 2011). Plexin-B2 binds with Sema4C. Plexin-B3 mediates interaction with both Sema4G and Sema5A. Some semaphorines exist in a membrane-bound form only, whereas other family members can be found in tissues/fluids in both secreted and membrane-bound forms. This ligand-receptor interaction between sema4D and Plexin-B1 indicated in different signaling pathways results in many intriguing and interesting findings, highlighting its importance in both physiology and pathology. Apart from bidirectional signaling among these molecules, the involvement of Plexin-B1 in the processes described here directly involves a bidirectional singaling between Sema4Dand Plexin-B1. Being a high affinity receptor for both Sema4A and Sema4D, the role played by Plexin-B1 in cancer progression, metastasis and angiogenesis is still an area requiring further research. Activation of Sema4D mediated downstream effectors is largely influenced by cross talk of Plexin-B1 with other molecules, such as Her-2 and Met. In this review, all findings regarding Plexin-B1 upstream and downstream regulation and its putative involvement in relation to the ultimate fate of cancer cells are discussed
. Histol Histopathol 29, 151-165 (2014)

Key words: Plexin-B, Semaphorin, Cell biology, Cancer and metastasis

DOI: 10.14670/HH-29.151