Semaphorins, initially found as neuronal guidance cues in embryo development, are now appreciated as major regulators of tissue morphogenesis and homeostasis, as well as of cancer progression. In fact, semaphorin signals have a profound impact on cell morphology, which has been commonly associated with the ability to regulate monomeric GTPases, cell-substrate adhesion, and cytoskeletal dynamics. Recently, however, several reports have indicated a novel and additional function of diverse semaphorins in the regulation of gene expression and cell phenotype plasticity. In this review article, we discuss these novel findings, focusing on the role of semaphorin signals in the regulation of bi-directional epithelial-mesenchymal transitions, stem cell properties, and drug resistance, which greatly contribute to the pathogenesis of cancer.
- drug resistance
- stem cell