Guidance from above: common cues direct distinct signaling outcomes in vascular and neural patterning

Trends Cell Biol. 2009 Mar;19(3):99-110. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2009.01.001. Epub 2009 Feb 4.


The nervous and vascular systems are both exquisitely branched and complicated systems and their proper development requires careful guidance of nerves and vessels. The recent realization that common ligand-receptor pairs are used in guiding the patterning of both systems has prompted the question of whether similar signaling pathways are used in both systems. This review highlights recent progress in our understanding of the similarities and differences in the intracellular signaling mechanisms downstream of semaphorins, ephrins and vascular endothelial growth factor in neurons and endothelial cells during neural and vascular development. We present evidence that similar intracellular signaling principles underlying cytoskeletal regulation are used to control neural and vascular guidance, although the specific molecules used in neurons and endothelial cells are often different.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Vessels / cytology*
  • Blood Vessels / growth & development
  • Blood Vessels / physiology*
  • Cues
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / growth & development
  • Endothelium, Vascular / innervation
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*