PlexinA1 interacts with PTK7 and is required for neural crest migration.
Members of the plexin protein family are known regulators of axon guidance, but recent data indicate that they have broader functions in the regulation of embryonic morphogenesis. Here we provide further evidence of this by showing that PlexinA1 is expressed in Xenopus neural crest cells and is required for their migration. PlexinA1 expression is detected in migrating cranial neural crest cells and knockdown of PlexinA1 expression using Morpholino oligonucleotides inhibits neural crest migration. PlexinA1 likely affects neural crest migration by interaction with PTK7, a regulator of planar cell polarity that is required for neural crest migration. PlexinA1 and PTK7 interact in immunoprecipitation assays and show phenotypic interaction in co-injection experiments. Considering that plexins and PTK7 have been shown to genetically interact in Drosophila axon guidance and chick cardiac morphogenesis, our data suggest that this interaction is evolutionary conserved and may be relevant for a broad range of morphogenetic events including the migration of neural crest cells in Xenopus laevis.
PubMed ID: 20946874
Article link: Biochem Biophys Res Commun.
Genes referenced: ptk7
Morpholinos referenced: plxna1 MO1 plxna1 MO2