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Cell Adh Migr. 2014;8(4):339-48. doi: 10.4161/19336918.2014.970007.

Regulation of cell differentiation by Eph receptor and ephrin signaling.

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a Division of Developmental Neurobiology; MRC National Institute for Medical Research ; London , UK.

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There is increasing evidence that in addition to having major roles in morphogenesis, in some tissues Eph receptor and ephrin signaling regulates the differentiation of cells. In one mode of deployment, cell contact dependent Eph-ephrin activation induces a distinct fate of cells at the interface of their expression domains, for example in early ascidian embryos and in the vertebrate hindbrain. In another mode, overlapping Eph receptor and ephrin expression underlies activation within a cell population, which promotes or inhibits cell differentiation in bone remodelling, neural progenitors and keratinocytes. Eph-ephrin activation also contributes to formation of the appropriate number of progenitor cells by increasing or decreasing cell proliferation. These multiple roles of Eph receptor and ephrin signaling may enable a coupling between morphogenesis and the differentiation and proliferation of cells.


Eph receptor; Eph receptor, Erythropoietin-producing hepatocellular carcinoma cell receptor; FGF, Fibroblast growth factor; IGF-1, Insulin-like growth factor-1; JNK, c-Jun N-terminal kinase; MAPK, Mitogen activated protein kinase; NFAT, Nuclear factor of activated T-cells; RGS3, Regulator of G-protein signaling 3; STAT3, Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3; TAZ, Tafazzin; TCR, T cell receptor; TEC, Thymic epithelial cell; TGF, Transforming growth factor; ZHX2, Zinc fingers and homeoboxes 2; ascidian development; bone; cell proliferation; differentiation; ephrin; ephrin, Eph receptor interacting protein; hindbrain; keratinocytes; neural progenitors; p120GAP, GTPase activating protein; thymocytes

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