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.
Copyright 2004 Elsevier Ltd.