Eph/ephrin signaling in morphogenesis, neural development and plasticity

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2004 Oct;16(5):580-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ceb.2004.07.002.


Ephrins are cell-surface-tethered ligands for Eph receptors, the largest family of receptor tyrosine kinases. During development, the Eph/ephrin cell communication system appears to influence cell behavior such as attraction/repulsion, adhesion/de-adhesion and migration, thereby influencing cell fate, morphogenesis and organogenesis. During adulthood, the Eph/ephrin system continues to play roles in tissue plasticity, for example in shaping dendritic spines during neuronal plasticity. Mechanistically, Eph-ephrin repulsive behavior appears to require ligand-receptor internalization and signaling to Rho GTPases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Dendritic Spines / metabolism
  • Ephrins / metabolism
  • Ephrins / physiology*
  • Ligands
  • Models, Biological
  • Morphogenesis*
  • Nervous System / embryology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Receptors, Eph Family / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism


  • Ephrins
  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Eph Family
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins