Emerging roles for semaphorins and VEGFs in synaptogenesis and synaptic plasticity

Cell Adh Migr. 2012 Nov-Dec;6(6):541-6. doi: 10.4161/cam.22408. Epub 2012 Oct 17.


Synapse formation, maintenance and plasticity are critical for the correct function of the nervous system and its target organs. During development, these processes enable the establishment of appropriate neural circuits. During adulthood, they allow adaptation to both physiological and environmental changes. In this review, we discuss emerging roles for two families of classical axon and vascular guidance cues in synaptogenesis and synaptic plasticity, the semaphorins and the vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs). Their contribution to synapse formation and function add a new facet to the spectrum of overlapping and complementary roles for these molecules in development, adulthood and disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium Signaling
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Mice
  • Motor Neurons / metabolism
  • Motor Neurons / physiology*
  • Neurogenesis
  • Neuronal Plasticity*
  • Semaphorin-3A / genetics
  • Semaphorin-3A / metabolism*
  • Synapses / metabolism*
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Synaptic Transmission
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-1 / genetics
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-1 / metabolism


  • Sema3a protein, mouse
  • Semaphorin-3A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-1