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Neuron. 2001 Sep 27;31(6):1001-13.

EphB/syndecan-2 signaling in dendritic spine morphogenesis.

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The Burnham Institute, 10901 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


We previously reported that the cell surface proteoglycan syndecan-2 can induce dendritic spine formation in hippocampal neurons. We demonstrate here that the EphB2 receptor tyrosine kinase phosphorylates syndecan-2 and that this phosphorylation event is crucial for syndecan-2 clustering and spine formation. Syndecan-2 is tyrosine phosphorylated and forms a complex with EphB2 in mouse brain. Dominant-negative inhibition of endogenous EphB receptor activities blocks clustering of endogenous syndecan-2 and normal spine formation in cultured hippocampal neurons. This is the first evidence that Eph receptors play a physiological role in dendritic spine morphogenesis. Our observations suggest that spine morphogenesis is triggered by the activation of Eph receptors, which causes tyrosine phosphorylation of target molecules, such as syndecan-2, in presumptive spines.

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