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Blood. 2005 Apr 1;105(7):2869-76. Epub 2004 Dec 7.

Ephrin-A1 binding to CD4+ T lymphocytes stimulates migration and induces tyrosine phosphorylation of PYK2.

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Department of Immunology and Pathology, The Norwegian Radium Hospital, Montebello, 0310 Oslo, Norway.


Eph receptors, the largest subfamily of receptor tyrosine kinases, and their ephrin ligands are important mediators of cell-cell communication regulating cell attachment, shape, and mobility. Here we demonstrate that CD4+ T lymphocytes express the EphA1 and EphA4 receptors and that these cells bind the ligand ephrin-A1. Further we show ephrin-A1 expression in vivo on high endothelial venule (HEV) endothelial cells. Ephrin-A1 binding to CD4+ T cells stimulates both stromal cell-derived factor 1alpha (SDF-1alpha)- and macrophage inflammatory protein 3beta (MIP3beta)-mediated chemotaxis. In line with the increased chemotactic response, increased actin polymerization is observed in particular with the combination of ephrin-A1 and SDF-1alpha. Signaling through EphA receptors induces intracellular tyrosine phosphorylation. In particular, proline-rich tyrosine kinase 2 (PYK2) is phosphorylated on tyrosine residues 402 and 580. Ephrin-A1-induced chemotaxis and intracellular tyrosine phosphorylation, including EphA1 and Pyk2, was inhibited by Tyrphostin-A9. In conclusion, ligand engagement of EphA receptors on CD4+ T cells stimulates chemotaxis, induces intracellular tyrosine phosphorylation, and affects actin polymerization. This, together with our finding that ephrin-A1 is expressed by HEV endothelial cells, suggests a role for Eph receptors in transendothelial migration.

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