Coexpression of transcripts encoding EPHB receptor protein tyrosine kinases and their ephrin-B ligands in human small cell lung carcinoma.
The EPH family is the largest subfamily of receptor protein tyrosine kinases, consisting of the EPHA and EPHB subgroups. Ephrin-B1, ephrin-B2, and ephrin-B3 are ligands of the EPHB subgroup and are encoded by the EFNB1, EFNB2, and EFNB3 genes, respectively. We have shown previously that EPHB2 transcripts are expressed in six small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) cell lines. In this study, we examined the expression of EPHB1, EPHB2, EPHB3, EPHB4, and EPHB6 in 4 SCLC tumor specimens and 14 cell lines including 3 cell lines derived from these tumor specimens. To investigate whether potential autocrine loops of EPHB receptors and ephrin-B ligands exist in SCLC, the expression of EFNB1, EFNB2, and EFNB3 was also examined. Our data show that transcripts encoding multiple members of the EPHB subgroup and the ephrin-B subgroup are coexpressed in SCLC cell lines and tumors. These results suggest that the EPHB subgroup receptor kinases may modulate the biological behavior of SCLC through autocrine and/or juxtacrine activation by ephrin-B ligands that are expressed in the same or neighboring cells. (+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)
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)
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)
Forward signaling mediated by ephrin-B3 prevents contralateral corticospinal axons from recrossing the spinal cord midline.
To investigate Eph-ephrin bidirectional signaling, a series of mutations were generated in the ephrin-B3 locus. The absence of both forward and reverse signaling resulted in mice with mirror movements as typified by a hopping locomotion. The corticospinal tract was defective as axons failed to respect the midline boundary of the spinal cord and bilaterally innervated both contralateral and ipsilateral motor neuron populations. A second mutation that expresses a truncated ephrin-B3 protein lacking its cytoplasmic domain did not lead to hopping, indicating that reverse signaling is not required for corticospinal innervation. Ephrin-B3 is concentrated at the spinal cord midline, while one of its receptors, EphA4, is expressed in postnatal corticospinal neurons as their fibers pathfind down the contralateral spinal cord. Our data indicate ephrin-B3 functions as a midline-anchored repellent to stimulate forward signaling in EphA4-expressing axons. (+info)
Ephrin-B3 is the midline barrier that prevents corticospinal tract axons from recrossing, allowing for unilateral motor control.
Growing axons follow highly stereotypical pathways, guided by a variety of attractive and repulsive cues, before establishing specific connections with distant targets. A particularly well-known example that illustrates the complexity of axonal migration pathways involves the axonal projections of motor neurons located in the motor cortex. These projections take a complex route during which they first cross the midline, then form the corticospinal tract, and ultimately connect with motor neurons in the contralateral side of the spinal cord. These obligatory contralateral connections account for why one side of the brain controls movement on the opposing side of the body. The netrins and slits provide well-known midline signals that regulate axonal crossings at the midline. Herein we report that a member of the ephrin family, ephrin-B3, also plays a key role at the midline to regulate axonal crossing. In particular, we show that ephrin-B3 acts as the midline barrier that prevents corticospinal tract projections from recrossing when they enter the spinal gray matter. We report that in ephrin-B3(-/-) mice, corticospinal tract projections freely recross in the spinal gray matter, such that the motor cortex on one side of the brain now provides bilateral input to the spinal cord. This neuroanatomical abnormality in ephrin-B3(-/-) mice correlates with loss of unilateral motor control, yielding mice that simultaneously move their right and left limbs and thus have a peculiar hopping gait quite unlike the alternate step gait displayed by normal mice. The corticospinal and walking defects in ephrin-B3(-/-) mice resemble those recently reported for mice lacking the EphA4 receptor, which binds ephrin-B3 as well as other ephrins, suggesting that the binding of EphA4-bearing axonal processes to ephrin-B3 at the midline provides the repulsive signal that prevents corticospinal tract projections from recrossing the midline in the developing spinal cord. (+info)
Ephrin B1 is expressed on neuroepithelial cells in correlation with neocortical neurogenesis.
To identify molecules involved in neurogenesis, we have raised monoclonal antibodies against embryonic day 12.5 mouse telencephalon. One antibody, monoclonal antibody 25H11, stains predominantly the ventricular zone of the anterior and lateral telencephalon. Purification of the 25H11 antigen, a 47 kDa integral membrane protein, from approximately 2500 mouse telencephali reveals its identity with ephrin B1. Ephrin B1 appears at the onset of neocortical neurogenesis, being first expressed in neuron-generating neuroepithelial cells and rapidly thereafter in virtually all neuroepithelial cells. Expression of ephrin B1 persists through the period of neocortical neurogenesis and is downregulated thereafter. Ephrin B1 is present on the ventricular as well as basolateral plasma membrane of neuroepithelial cells and exhibits an ventricular-high to pial-low gradient across the ventricular zone. Expression of ephrin B1 is also detected on radial glial cells, extending all the way to their pial endfeet, and on neurons in the mantle/intermediate zone but not in the cortical plate. Our results suggest that ephrin B1, presumably via ephrin-Eph receptor signaling, has a role in neurogenesis. Given the ventricular-to-pial gradient of ephrin B1 on the neuroepithelial cell surface and its known role in cell migration in other systems mediated by its repulsive properties, we propose that ephrin B1 may be involved in the migration of newborn neurons out from the ventricular zone toward the neocortex. (+info)
Kinase-independent requirement of EphB2 receptors in hippocampal synaptic plasticity.
During development, Eph receptors mediate the repulsive axon guidance function of ephrins, a family of membrane attached ligands with their own receptor-like signaling potential. In cultured glutamatergic neurons, EphB2 receptors were recently shown to associate with NMDA receptors at synaptic sites and were suggested to play a role in synaptogenesis. Here we show that Eph receptor stimulation in cultured neurons modulates signaling pathways implicated in synaptic plasticity, suggesting cross-talk with NMDA receptor-activated pathways. Mice lacking EphB2 have normal hippocampal synapse morphology, but display defects in synaptic plasticity. In EphB2(-/-) hippocampal slices, protein synthesis-dependent long-term potentiation (LTP) was impaired, and two forms of synaptic depression were completely extinguished. Interestingly, targeted expression of a carboxy-terminally truncated form of EphB2 rescued the EphB2 null phenotype, indicating that EphB2 kinase signaling is not required for these EphB2-mediated functions. (+info)