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Trends Cell Biol. 2007 May;17(5):230-8. Epub 2007 Apr 8.

Bidirectional Eph-ephrin signaling during axon guidance.

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Max-Planck Institute of Neurobiology, D-82152 Martinsried, Germany. <>


Ephrins are cell-surface tethered guidance cues that bind to Eph receptor tyrosine kinases in trans on opposing cells. In the developing nervous system, the Eph-ephrin signaling system controls a large variety of cellular responses including contact-mediated attraction or repulsion, adhesion or de-adhesion, and migration. Eph-ephrin signaling can be bidirectional, and is subject to modulation by ectodomain cleavage of ephrins and by Eph-ephrin endocytosis. Recent work has highlighted the importance of higher-order clustering of functional Eph-ephrin complexes and the requirement for Rho GTPases as signal transducers. Co-expression of Ephs and ephrins within the same cellular membrane can result in Eph-ephrin cis interaction or in lateral segregation into distinct domains from where they signal opposing effects on the axon.

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