Genomic organization of human neuropilin-1 and neuropilin-2 genes: identification and distribution of splice variants and soluble isoforms

Genomics. 2000 Dec 1;70(2):211-22. doi: 10.1006/geno.2000.6381.


Neuropilin-1 (NRP1) and neuropilin-2 (NRP2) are both receptors for semaphorins, which regulate neuronal guidance, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), an angiogenic factor. The two human NRP1 and NRP2 genes were cloned, and the exon-intron boundaries were determined. The NRP1 and NRP2 genes span over 120 and 112 kb, respectively, and are composed of 17 exons. Five of the exons are identical in size in the two genes, suggesting that they arose by gene duplication. Both NRP genes are characterized by multiple alternatively spliced variants. Two NRP2 isoforms, NRP2a and NRP2b, were cloned. A striking feature of these two isoforms is that they have identical extracellular domains but have divergent transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains. In these domains, NRP2a is closer in sequence identity to NRP1 than to NRP2b. As determined by Northern blot analysis, both NRP2a and NRP2b are expressed in a variety of tissues, mostly in a nonoverlapping manner. Within NRP2a and NRP2b, there are several alternatively spliced species: NRP2a(17), NRP2a(22), NRP2b(0), and NRP2b(5). In addition to full-length NRPs, there are truncated NRPs as well, which contain only the extracellular a/CUB and b/coagulation factor domains. These genes encode proteins that are soluble (sNRP) and released by cells. In addition to s12NRP1, which was previously cloned, s11NRP1 and s9NRP2 have now been cloned. These sNRP molecules are characterized by having intron-derived sequences at their C-termini. Altogether, eight NRP isoforms are described in this report. It was concluded that there are multiple NRP1 and NRP2 isoforms including intact and soluble forms. Characterization of these isoforms should help to elucidate the function of NRPs in neuronal guidance and angiogenesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / chemistry
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics*
  • Neuropilin-1
  • Protein Isoforms / chemistry
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics*
  • RNA Splicing*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • DNA, Complementary
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Neuropilin-1

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF280544
  • GENBANK/AF280545
  • GENBANK/AF280546
  • GENBANK/AF280547
  • GENBANK/AF280548
  • GENBANK/AF280549
  • GENBANK/AF280550
  • GENBANK/AF280551
  • GENBANK/AF281074