Differential requirement for Plexin-A3 and -A4 in mediating responses of sensory and sympathetic neurons to distinct class 3 Semaphorins.
The class 3 Semaphorins Sema3A and Sema3F are potent axonal repellents that cause repulsion by binding Neuropilin-1 and Neuropilin-2, respectively. Plexins are implicated as signaling coreceptors for the Neuropilins, but the identity of the Plexins that transduce Sema3A and Sema3F responses in vivo is uncertain. Here, we show that Plexin-A3 and -A4 are key determinants of these responses, through analysis of a Plexin-A3/Plexin-A4 double mutant mouse. Sensory and sympathetic neurons from the double mutant are insensitive to Sema3A and Sema3F in vitro, and defects in axonal projections in vivo correspond to those seen in Neuropilin-1 and -2 mutants. Interestingly, we found a differential requirement for these two Plexins: signaling via Neuropilin-1 is mediated principally by Plexin-A4, whereas signaling via Neuropilin-2 is mediated principally by Plexin-A3. Thus, Plexin-A3 and -A4 contribute to the specificity of axonal responses to class 3 Semaphorins.