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Genes Dev. 2010 Nov 15;24(22):2480-92. doi: 10.1101/gad.1973910.

Eph/ephrin molecules--a hub for signaling and endocytosis.

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Department of Tissue Morphogenesis, Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Biomedicine, and Faculty of Medicine, University of Münster, Münster, Germany.


The development, homeostasis, and regeneration of complex organ systems require extensive cell-cell communication to ensure that different cells proliferate, migrate, differentiate, assemble, and function in a coordinated and timely fashion. Eph receptor tyrosine kinases and their ephrin ligands are critical regulators of cell contact-dependent signaling and patterning. Eph/ephrin binding can lead to very diverse biological readouts such as adhesion versus repulsion, or increased versus decreased motility. Accordingly, depending on cell type and context, a limited and conserved set of receptor-ligand interactions is translated into a large variety of downstream signaling processes. Recent evidence indicates that the endocytosis of Eph/ephrin molecules, together with the internalization of various associated tissue-specific effectors, might be one of the key principles responsible for such highly diverse and adaptable biological roles. Here, we summarize recent insights into Eph/ephrin signaling and endocytosis in three biological systems; i.e., the brain, intestine, and vasculature.

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