Eph/ephrin signaling in cancer: intricate, puzzling and ... fascinating!

Luis Miguel Alonso-Colmenar
Cell Adhesion & Migration 2012, 6 (2): 100-1
The Eph receptor tyrosine kinases family and their membrane bound ligands, the ephrins, represents a complex signaling network of cell communication for cell sorting during tissue patterning in development and in the normal physiology and homeostasis of adult tissues. This molecular family has adapted to evolving tissue complexity in multicellular organisms through the emergence of more members and complex mechanisms of expression and signaling that result in the fine-tuning of cell positioning. Since their initial identification from an erythropoietin producing hepatocellular (Eph) carcinoma cell line in 1987, Eph/ephrin signaling has been a matter of intensive investigation for their plausible role in cancer. Similarly to their context dependent modus operandi in normal tissues, Eph/ephrin signaling in cancer is an intricate and puzzling network of events that tumors "manage" to their benefit in multiple aspects like cell adhesion to substrate, migration, invasion or growth.

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