The interaction of the Eph family of receptor protein tyrosine kinase and its ligand ephrin family induces bidirectional signaling via the cell-cell contacts. Although most previous studies have focused on the function of Eph-ephrin pathways in the neural system and endothelial cells, this process also occurs in epithelial and cancer cells, of which the biological involvement is poorly understood. We show that ephrin-B1 creates an in vivo complex with adjacent claudin1 or claudin4 via the extracellular domains of these proteins. The cytoplasmic domain of ephrin-B1 was phosphorylated on tyrosine residues upon the formation of cell-cell contacts, possibly recognizing an intercellular adhesion of claudins. Phosphorylation of ephrin-B1 induced by claudins was abolished by the treatment with 4-amino-5-(4-chlorophenyl)-7-(t-butyl)pyrazolo[3,4-d]pyrimidine, an inhibitor of the Src family kinases. Moreover, overexpression of ephrin-B1 triggered consequent change in the level of cell-cell adhesion depending on its phosphorylation. These results suggest that ephrin-B1 mediated the cell-cell adhesion of epithelial and cancer cells via a novel Eph receptor-independent mechanism.