Members of the semaphorin family of secreted and transmembrane proteins utilize plexins as neuronal receptors to signal repulsive axon guidance. It remains unknown how plexin proteins are directly linked to the regulation of cytoskeletal dynamics. Here, we show that Drosophila MICAL, a large, multidomain, cytosolic protein expressed in axons, interacts with the neuronal plexin A (PlexA) receptor and is required for Semaphorin 1a (Sema-1a)-PlexA-mediated repulsive axon guidance. In addition to containing several domains known to interact with cytoskeletal components, MICAL has a flavoprotein monooxygenase domain, the integrity of which is required for Sema-1a-PlexA repulsive axon guidance. Vertebrate orthologs of Drosophila MICAL are neuronally expressed and also interact with vertebrate plexins, and monooxygenase inhibitors abrogate semaphorin-mediated axonal repulsion. These results suggest a novel role for oxidoreductases in repulsive neuronal guidance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)