Eph/ephrin recognition and the role of Eph/ephrin clusters in signaling initiation

Dimitar B Nikolov, Kai Xu, Juha P Himanen
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 2013, 1834 (10): 2160-5
The Eph receptors and their ephrin ligands play crucial roles in a large number of cell-cell interaction events, including those associated with axon pathfinding, neuronal cell migration and vasculogenesis. They are also involved in the patterning of most tissues and overall cell positioning in the development of the vertebrate body plan. The Eph/ephrin signaling system manifests several unique features that differentiate it from other receptor tyrosine kinases, including initiation of bi-directional signaling cascades and the existence of ligand and receptor subclasses displaying promiscuous intra-subclass interactions, but very rare inter-subclass interactions. In this review we briefly discuss these features and focus on recent studies of the unique and expansive high-affinity Eph/ephrin assemblies that form at the sites of cell-cell contact and are required for Eph signaling initiation. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Emerging recognition and activation mechanisms of receptor tyrosine kinases.

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