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J Biol Chem. 2005 Aug 12;280(32):29355-63. Epub 2005 Jun 13.

Biphasic functions of the kinase-defective Ephb6 receptor in cell adhesion and migration.

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Department of Neurosciences, Lerner Research Institute, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, and Department of Molecular Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA.


EphB6 is a unique member in the Eph family of receptor tyrosine kinases in that its kinase domain contains several alterations in conserved amino acids and is catalytically inactive. Although EphB6 is expressed both in a variety of embryonic and adult tissues, biological functions of this receptor are largely unknown. In the present study, we examined the function of EphB6 in cell adhesion and migration. We demonstrated that EphB6 exerted biphasic effects in response to different concentrations of the ephrin-B2 ligand; EphB6 promoted cell adhesion and migration when stimulated with low concentrations of ephrin-B2, whereas it induced repulsion and inhibited migration upon stimulation with high concentrations of ephrin-B2. A truncated EphB6 receptor lacking the cytoplasmic domain showed monophasic-positive effects on cell adhesion and migration, indicating that the cytoplasmic domain is essential for the negative effects. EphB6 is constitutively associated with the Src family kinase Fyn. High concentrations of ephrin-B2 induced tyrosine phosphorylation of EphB6 through an Src family kinase activity. These results indicate that EphB6 can both positively and negatively regulate cell adhesion and migration, and suggest that tyrosine phosphorylation of the receptor by an Src family kinase acts as the molecular switch for the functional transition.

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