Semaphorins are a family of cell surface and secreted proteins that are conserved from insects to humans. Members of this family of proteins are approximately 750 amino acids in length (including signal sequences) and are defined by a conserved extracellular "Semaphorin" domain of approximately 500 amino acids containing 14-16 cysteines, blocks of conserved sequences and no obvious repeats. The transmembrane semaphorins are characterized by an additional 80 amino acid transmembrane domain and an 80-110 amino acid cytoplasmic domain. Secreted and cell-bound semaphorins chemically attract and repel the growth of neural axons, guiding the development of intricate networks of neural tissue. Semaphorin 4A (SEMA4A), also designated Semaphorin B, is a type I membrane protein. The SEMA4A gene encoding the protein localizes to chromosome 1q22. SEMA4A provides signals to specify territories inaccessible for growing neurons, inhibiting axonal extension.
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