EphB6 crosslinking results in costimulation of T cells

J Clin Invest. 2002 Oct;110(8):1141-50. doi: 10.1172/JCI15883.


Erythropoietin-producing hepatocyte (Eph) kinases represent the largest receptor tyrosine kinase family. Some of them are expressed in the T cell compartment, but their function in T cells is unknown. In peripheral blood, EphB6 was predominantly expressed on T cells, and was upregulated after culture. EphB6 crosslinking by anti-EphB6 mAb or ephrinB2 in the presence of suboptimal T cell receptor (TCR) stimulation led to drastic T cell proliferation, suggesting that EphB6 can co-stimulate T cells. The proliferation was accompanied by enhanced production of several lymphokines, such as IFN-gamma, IL-6, IL-10, TGF-beta, TNF-alpha, and GM-CSF, but not IL-2 and IL-4. Sorted EphB6(+) T cells had significantly stronger response to anti-CD3 and anti-CD28 stimulation than EphB6(-) T cells had. Taken together, these data suggest an important role of EphB6 in normal T cell activation. Within two minutes of anti-CD3 and anti-CD28 stimulation, EphB6 aggregated and colocalized with TCR, and this provides a morphological basis for EphB6 to enhance TCR signaling. The capping was followed by p38 MAPK activation, showing that EphB6 is capable of signaling, in spite of its lack of intrinsic kinase activity. This study demonstrates that interaction between EphB6 and its ligands facilitates T cell responses to antigen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • Ephrin-B2 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Ligands
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Lymphokines / biosynthesis
  • Mice
  • Receptor, EphB6 / chemistry
  • Receptor, EphB6 / immunology*
  • Receptor, EphB6 / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • Ephrin-B2
  • Ligands
  • Lymphokines
  • Receptor, EphB6
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell