Research ArticleBiochemistry

Plexins Are GTPase-Activating Proteins for Rap and Are Activated by Induced Dimerization

Science Signaling  17 Jan 2012:
Vol. 5, Issue 207, pp. ra6
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2002636

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Activating a GAP by Dimerization

Plexins are receptors for semaphorins, a family of axon guidance molecules. The biochemical and structural analyses performed by Wang et al. suggested that semaphorin binding triggered activation of plexin by inducing dimerization. Furthermore, they found that plexins could act as guanosine triphosphatase (GTPase)–activating proteins for the small GTPase Rap and that the ability of semaphorins to trigger the collapse of axonal growth cones required the inactivation of Rap by plexins. Thus, these results provide a plexin-mediated signaling pathway that could be exploited in regenerative therapies for axon-severing injuries.