Semaphorins and their receptors in olfactory axon guidance

Cell Mol Biol (Noisy-le-grand). 1999 Sep;45(6):763-79.


The mammalian olfactory system is capable of discriminating among a large variety of odor molecules and is therefore essential for the identification of food, enemies and mating partners. The assembly and maintenance of olfactory connectivity have been shown to depend on the combinatorial actions of a variety of molecular signals, including extracellular matrix, cell adhesion and odorant receptor molecules. Recent studies have identified semaphorins and their receptors as putative molecular cues involved in olfactory pathfinding, plasticity and regeneration. The semaphorins comprise a large family of secreted and transmembrane axon guidance proteins, being either repulsive or attractive in nature. Neuropilins were shown to serve as receptors for secreted class 3 semaphorins, whereas members of the plexin family are receptors for class 1 and V (viral) semaphorins. The present review will discuss a role for semaphorins and their receptors in the establishment and maintenance of olfactory connectivity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / chemistry
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Carrier Proteins / physiology
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / physiology
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal / physiology*
  • Glycoproteins / physiology
  • Humans
  • Nerve Growth Factors / physiology*
  • Nerve Regeneration
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology*
  • Neuropilin-1
  • Olfactory Pathways / chemistry*
  • Olfactory Pathways / growth & development
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / growth & development
  • Semaphorin-3A
  • Semaphorins*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal
  • Glycoproteins
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • SEMA3A protein, human
  • Semaphorin-3A
  • Semaphorins
  • plexin
  • semaphorin IV
  • Neuropilin-1