Chemorepulsion by semaphorins plays a critical role during the development of neuronal projections. Although semaphorin-induced chemoattraction has been reported in vitro, the contribution of this activity to axon pathfinding is still unclear. Using genetic and culture models, we provide evidence that both attraction and repulsion by Sema3B, a secreted semaphorin, are critical for the positioning of a major brain commissural projection, the anterior commissure (AC). NrCAM, an immunoglobulin superfamily adhesion molecule of the L1 subfamily, associates with neuropilin-2 and is a component of a receptor complex for Sema3B and Sema3F. Finally, we show that activation of the FAK/Src signaling cascade distinguishes Sema3B-mediated attractive from repulsive axonal responses of neurons forming the AC, revealing a mechanism underlying the dual activity of this guidance cue.
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