Specification of distinct dopaminergic neural pathways: roles of the Eph family receptor EphB1 and ligand ephrin-B2.
Dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area project to the caudate putamen and nucleus accumbens/olfactory tubercle, respectively, constituting mesostriatal and mesolimbic pathways. The molecular signals that confer target specificity of different dopaminergic neurons are not known. We now report that EphB1 and ephrin-B2, a receptor and ligand of the Eph family, are candidate guidance molecules for the development of these distinct pathways. EphB1 and ephrin-B2 are expressed in complementary patterns in the midbrain dopaminergic neurons and their targets, and the ligand specifically inhibits the growth of neurites and induces the cell loss of substantia nigra, but not ventral tegmental, dopaminergic neurons. These studies suggest that the ligand-receptor pair may contribute to the establishment of distinct neural pathways by selectively inhibiting the neurite outgrowth and cell survival of mistargeted neurons. In addition, we show that ephrin-B2 expression is upregulated by cocaine and amphetamine in adult mice, suggesting that ephrin-B2/EphB1 interaction may play a role in drug-induced plasticity in adults as well. (+info)
High-level expression of EPHB6, EFNB2, and EFNB3 is associated with low tumor stage and high TrkA expression in human neuroblastomas.
Neuroblastoma (NB) is a common pediatric tumor of neural crest origin that is biologically and clinically heterogeneous. EPH family receptor tyrosine kinases and ephrin ligands play fundamental roles in neurodevelopmental processes. Recently, we found that NB cell lines expressed several EPHB and EFNB transcripts, which encode EPHB subgroup receptors and ephrin-B subgroup ligands, respectively. To explore the role of EPHB receptors and ephrin-B ligands in the biology of NB, we examined the expression of EPHB and EFNB transcripts in 47 primary NB specimens. Multiple EPHB and EFNB transcripts were expressed in all of the NB tumors examined, suggesting the involvement of these transcripts in modulating the biological behavior of NB. Higher levels of EPHB6, EFNB2, and EFNB3 expression were found in low-stage tumors (stage 1, 2, and 4S) than in advanced-stage tumors (stage 3 and 4; P = 0.0013, P = 0.0048, and P = 0.027, respectively). Expression of TrkA, a well-established prognostic marker of favorable NB, was positively correlated with EPHB6, EFNB2, and EFNB3 expression (P < 0.0001, P = 0.0019, and P = 0.0001, respectively). MYCN-amplified tumors expressed lower levels of EPHB6, EFNB2, EFNB3, and TrkA transcripts compared to nonamplified tumors (P = 0.0006, P = 0.0023, P = 0.0048, and P = 0.0001, respectively). These data suggest that high-level expression of EPHB6, EFNB2, and EFNB3 is associated with favorable NB and that low-level expression of EPHB6, EFNB2, and EFNB3 correlates with aggressive MYCN-amplified NB. Thus, EPHB6, EFNB2, and EFNB3 may have biological relevance in NB. Further investigation on the biology of these genes may help provide insight into the treatment of NB. (+info)
Symmetrical mutant phenotypes of the receptor EphB4 and its specific transmembrane ligand ephrin-B2 in cardiovascular development.
Ephrin-B2 is a transmembrane ligand that is specifically expressed on arteries but not veins and that is essential for cardiovascular development. However, ephrin-B2 is also expressed in nonvascular tissues and interacts with multiple EphB class receptors expressed in both endothelial and nonendothelial cell types. Thus, the identity of the relevant receptor for ephrin-B2 and the site(s) where these molecules interact to control angiogenesis were not clear. Here we show that EphB4, a specific receptor for ephrin-B2, is exclusively expressed by vascular endothelial cells in embryos and is preferentially expressed on veins. A targeted mutation in EphB4 essentially phenocopies the mutation in ephrin-B2. These data indicate that ephrin-B2-EphB4 interactions are intrinsically required in vascular endothelial cells and are consistent with the idea that they mediate bidirectional signaling essential for angiogenesis. (+info)
The receptor tyrosine kinase EphB4 and ephrin-B ligands restrict angiogenic growth of embryonic veins in Xenopus laevis.
The cues and signaling systems that guide the formation of embryonic blood vessels in tissues and organs are poorly understood. Members of the Eph family of receptor tyrosine kinases and their cell membrane-anchored ligands, the ephrins, have been assigned important roles in the control of cell migration during embryogenesis, particularly in axon guidance and neural crest migration. Here we investigated the role of EphB receptors and their ligands during embryonic blood vessel development in Xenopus laevis. In a survey of tadpole-stage Xenopus embryos for EphB receptor expression, we detected expression of EphB4 receptors in the posterior cardinal veins and their derivatives, the intersomitic veins. Vascular expression of other EphB receptors, including EphB1, EphB2 or EphB3, could however not be observed, suggesting that EphB4 is the principal EphB receptor of the early embryonic vasculature of Xenopus. Furthermore, we found that ephrin-B ligands are expressed complementary to EphB4 in the somites adjacent to the migratory pathways taken by intersomitic veins during angiogenic growth. We performed RNA injection experiments to study the function of EphB4 and its ligands in intersomitic vein development. Disruption of EphB4 signaling by dominant negative EphB4 receptors or misexpression of ephrin-B ligands in Xenopus embryos resulted in intersomitic veins growing abnormally into the adjacent somitic tissue. Our findings demonstrate that EphB4 and B-class ephrins act as regulators of angiogenesis possibly by mediating repulsive guidance cues to migrating endothelial cells. (+info)
Tbx5 and the retinotectum projection.
Dorsal and ventral aspects of the eye are distinct from the early stages of development. The developing eye cup grows dorsally, and the choroidal fissure is formed on its ventral side. Retinal axons from the dorsal and ventral retina project to the ventral and dorsal tectum, respectively. Misexpression of the Tbx5 gene induced dorsalization of the ventral side of the eye and altered projections of retinal ganglion cell axons. Thus, Tbx5 is involved in eye morphogenesis and is a topographic determinant of the visual projections between retina and tectum. (+info)
Comparative analysis of embryonic gene expression defines potential interaction sites for Xenopus EphB4 receptors with ephrin-B ligands.
The Eph family of receptor tyrosine kinases and their ligands, the ephrins, act as signaling molecules regulating the migratory behavior of neurons and neural crest cells, and are implicated in tissue patterning, blood vessel formation, and tumorigenesis. On the basis of structural similarities and overlapping binding specificities, Eph receptors as well as their ligands can be divided into A and B subfamilies with orthologues found in all vertebrates. We describe here the isolation of cDNAs encoding Xenopus EphB4 receptors and show that embryonic expression is prominently associated with the developing vasculature, newly forming somites, the visceral arches, and non-neuronal tissues of the embryonic head. In a screen to identify potential ligands for EphB4 in Xenopus embryos, we isolated cDNAs for the Xenopus ephrin-B2 and -B3, which demonstrates that the Xenopus genome harbors genes encoding orthologues to all three currently known mammalian ephrin-B genes. We next performed in situ hybridizations to identify tissues and organs where EphB4 receptors may encounter ephrin-B ligands during embryonic development. Our analysis revealed distinct, but overlapping patterns of ephrin-B gene expression. Interestingly, each ephrin-B ligand displayed expression domains either adjacent to or within EphB4-expressing tissues. These findings indicate that EphB4 receptors may interact in vivo with multiple B-class ephrins. The expression patterns also suggest that EphB4 receptors and their ligands may be involved in visceral arch formation, somitogenesis, and blood vessel development. (+info)
Ephrin-B2 is a candidate ligand for the Eph receptor, EphB6.
No ligand has hitherto been designated for the Eph receptor tyrosine kinase family member, EphB6. Here, expression of an EphB6 ligand in the pro-B leukemic cell line, Reh, is demonstrated by binding of soluble EphB6-Fc fusion protein to the Reh cells. The ligand belongs to the subgroup of membrane spanning ligands, as suggested by the fact that phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C treatment did not abrogate binding of EphB6-Fc. Two transmembrane Eph receptor ligands, ephrin-B1 and ephrin-B2, were identified in Reh cells. Analysis of EphB6-Fc fusion protein binding to ephrin-B1 or ephrin-B2 transfected COS cells revealed a high-affinity saturable binding between EphB6-Fc and ephrin-B2, but not with ephrin-B1. In mice, EphB6 has previously been shown to be expressed in thymus. Here, we show expression of EphB6 in human thymus, as well as the expression of ephrin-B2 in both human and mouse thymus. We conclude that ephrin-B2 may be a physiological ligand for the EphB6 receptor. (+info)
Implications of EPHB6, EFNB2, and EFNB3 expressions in human neuroblastoma.
Neuroblastoma (NB) is a common pediatric tumor that exhibits a wide range of biological and clinical heterogeneity. EPH (erythropoietin-producing hepatoma amplified sequence) family receptor tyrosine kinases and ligand ephrins play pivotal roles in neural and cardiovascular development. High-level expression of transcripts encoding EPHB6 receptors (EPHB6) and its ligands ephrin-B2 and ephrin-B3 (EFNB2, EFNB3) is associated with low-stage NB (stages 1, 2, and 4S) and high TrkA expression. In this study, we showed that EFNB2 and TrkA expressions were associated with both tumor stage and age, whereas EPHB6 and EFNB3 expressions were solely associated with tumor stage, suggesting that these genes were expressed in distinct subsets of NB. Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression analyses revealed that high-level expression of EPHB6, EFNB2, and EFNB3 predicted favorable NB outcome (P<0.005), and their expression combined with TrkA expression predicted the disease outcome more accurately than each variable alone (P<0.00005). Interestingly, if any one of the four genes (EPHB6, EFNB2, EFNB3, or TrkA) was expressed at high levels in NB, the patient survival was excellent (>90%). To address whether a good disease outcome of NB was a consequence of high-level expression of a "favorable NB gene," we examined the effect of EPHB6 on NB cell lines. Transfection of EPHB6 cDNA into IMR5 and SY5Y expressing little endogenous EPHB6 resulted in inhibition of their clonogenicity in culture. Furthermore, transfection of EPHB6 suppressed the tumorigenicity of SY5Y in a mouse xenograft model, demonstrating that high-level expressions of favorable NB genes, such as EPHB6, can in fact suppress malignant phenotype of unfavorable NB. (+info)