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Dev Biol. 2007 Apr 1;304(1):182-93. Epub 2006 Dec 19.

Ephrin-B2 forward signaling regulates somite patterning and neural crest cell development.

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Program in Developmental Biology, Division of Basic Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Ave N., Seattle, WA 98109, USA.


Genetic studies in the mouse have implicated ephrin-B2 (encoded by the gene Efnb2) in blood vessel formation, cardiac development and remodeling of the lymphatic vasculature. Here we report that loss of ephrin-B2 leads to defects in populations of cranial and trunk neural crest cells (NCC) and to defective somite development. In addition, we show that Efnb1/Efnb2 double heterozygous embryos exhibit phenotypes in a number of NCC derivatives. Expression of one copy of a mutant version of Efnb2 that lacks tyrosine phosphorylation sites was sufficient to rescue the embryonic phenotypes associated with loss of Efnb2. Our results uncover an important role for ephrin-B2 in NCC and somites during embryogenesis and suggest that ephrin-B2 exerts many of its embryonic function via activation of forward signaling.

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