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Mech Dev. 1999 May;83(1-2):77-94.

An early developmental role for eph-ephrin interaction during vertebrate gastrulation.

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Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (Melbourne Branch) Post Office, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Victoria 3050, Australia.


Eph receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK) and their ephrin ligands are involved in the transmission of signals which regulate cytoskeletal organisation and cell migration, and are expressed in spatially restricted patterns at discrete phases during embryogenesis. Loss of function mutants of Eph RTK or ephrin genes result in defects in neuronal pathfinding or cell migration. In this report we show that soluble forms of human EphA3 and ephrin-A5, acting as dominant negative inhibitors, interfere with early events in zebrafish embryogenesis. Exogenous expression of both proteins results in dose-dependent defects in somite development and organisation of the midbrain-hindbrain boundary and hindbrain. The nature of the defects as well as the distribution and timing of expression of endogenous ligands/receptors for both proteins suggest that Eph-ephrin interaction is required for the organisation of embryonic structures by coordinating the cellular movements of convergence during gastrulation.

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