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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2014 Oct;71(19):3685-710. doi: 10.1007/s00018-014-1633-0. Epub 2014 May 4.

Eph- and ephrin-dependent mechanisms in tumor and stem cell dynamics.

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1
Research Programs Unit, Genome-Scale Biology, Biomedicum Helsinki, University of Helsinki, P.O.B. 63, 00014, Helsinki, Finland.

Abstract

The erythropoietin-producing hepatocellular (Eph) receptors comprise the largest family of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs). Initially regarded as axon-guidance and tissue-patterning molecules, Eph receptors have now been attributed with various functions during development, tissue homeostasis, and disease pathogenesis. Their ligands, ephrins, are synthesized as membrane-associated molecules. At least two properties make this signaling system unique: (1) the signal can be simultaneously transduced in the receptor- and the ligand-expressing cell, (2) the signaling outcome through the same molecules can be opposite depending on cellular context. Moreover, shedding of Eph and ephrin ectodomains as well as ligand-dependent and -independent receptor crosstalk with other RTKs, proteases, and adhesion molecules broadens the repertoire of Eph/ephrin functions. These integrated pathways provide plasticity to cell-microenvironment communication in varying tissue contexts. The complex molecular networks and dynamic cellular outcomes connected to the Eph/ephrin signaling in tumor-host communication and stem cell niche are the main focus of this review.

PMID:
24794629
DOI:
10.1007/s00018-014-1633-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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