Diverse roles for semaphorin-plexin signaling in the immune system

Trends Immunol. 2012 Mar;33(3):127-35. doi: 10.1016/j.it.2012.01.008. Epub 2012 Feb 9.


Semaphorins were originally identified as axon guidance factors involved in the development of the neuronal system. However, accumulating evidence indicates that several semaphorins, so-called 'immune semaphorins', are crucially involved in various phases of both physiological and pathological immune responses; some regulate immune cell activation or differentiation, whereas others navigate the trafficking of immune cells. Plexin family members are one of the most representative semaphorin receptors and the semaphorin-plexin complex structures were recently determined in crystallization studies. Here, we review the rapidly emerging functions of semaphorins and their receptors in the immune system.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / chemistry
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / immunology*
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism
  • Cell Communication
  • Cell Movement
  • Humans
  • Immune System*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / chemistry
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / immunology*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Semaphorins / chemistry
  • Semaphorins / immunology*
  • Semaphorins / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Semaphorins
  • plexin