Semaphorins are a large family of transmembrane and secreted proteins that signal primarily through the receptor plexin. Semaphorins have been characterized in the nervous system as axon guidance cues; however, they have also been shown to control development of other cellular systems such as the vasculature and lungs. As the role of semaphorins outside of the nervous system has broadened, so has elucidation of the intracellular signalling pathways they initiate. Previously, we and others have shown that plexin-B1 activates RhoA through the binding and activation of RhoGEF (guanine nucleotide-exchange factor)/LARG (leukaemia-associated RhoGEF) in response to semaphorin 4D stimulation. In the present study, we show that semaphorin 4D activates the MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) pathway. We have found that the mechanism of activation requires the C-terminus of plexin-B1 and the activation of RhoA.

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