Plexins are receptors implicated in mediating signaling by semaphorins, a family of axonal chemorepellents. The role of specific plexins in mediating semaphorin function in vivo has not, however, yet been examined in vertebrates. Here, we show that plexin-A3 is the most ubiquitously expressed plexin family member within regions of the developing mammalian nervous system known to contain semaphorin-responsive neurons. Using a chimeric receptor construct, we provide evidence that plexin-A3 can transduce a repulsive signal in growth cones in vitro. Analysis of plexin-A3 knockout mice shows that plexin-A3 contributes to Sema3F and Sema3A signaling and that plexin-A3 regulates the development of hippocampal axonal projections in vivo.
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