Encyclopedia of Cancer

Living Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab


  • Claus Christensen
  • Luca Tamagnone
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27841-9_5232-13



The semaphorins (abbreviated SEMA) constitute a family of genes encoding secreted and membrane-associated proteins which share a common domain called the sema domain.

The name semaphorin is derived from the Greek words “sema” meaning “signal” and “phor” which means “to carry.” This name was given to semaphorins owing to the function of the first semaphorins as guidance cues for axonal growth cones.



To date, the semaphorin family comprises 21 different members in vertebrates, 5 different members in invertebrates, and 2 virus-encoded members. All semaphorins contain an approximately 500 amino acid extracellular sema domain and a class-specific carboxy terminus that may encompass additional sequence motifs. At present, the known semaphorins are divided among 8 subclasses based on these structural features and phylogenetic analysis. The characteristics of individual...


Focal Adhesion Kinase Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma Primary Tumor Growth Sema Domain Orphan Nuclear Receptor 
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See Also

  1. (2012) Adult T-cell leukemia. In: Schwab M (ed) Encyclopedia of cancer, 3rd edn. Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg, p 100. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-16483-5_126Google Scholar
  2. (2012) Autocrine signaling. In: Schwab M (ed) Encyclopedia of cancer, 3rd edn. Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg, p 311. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-16483-5_470Google Scholar
  3. (2012) Colorectal cancer. In: Schwab M (ed) Encyclopedia of cancer, 3rd edn. Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg, p 916. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-16483-5_1265Google Scholar
  4. (2012) Cytokine. In: Schwab M (ed) Encyclopedia of cancer, 3rd edn. Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg, p 1051. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-16483-5_1473Google Scholar
  5. (2012) β Propeller. In: Schwab M (ed) Encyclopedia of cancer, 3rd edn. Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg, p 3005. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-16483-5_4771Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cancer GeneticsDanish Cancer SocietyCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Department of OncologyUniversity of TurinCandioloItaly
  3. 3.Candiolo Cancer Center-IRCCSUniversity of TurinCandioloItaly