Eph receptor interclass cooperation is required for the regulation of cell proliferation

Exp Cell Res. 2016 Oct 15;348(1):10-22. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2016.08.017. Epub 2016 Aug 24.


Cancer often arises by the constitutive activation of mitogenic pathways by mutations in stem cells. Eph receptors are unusual in that although they regulate the proliferation of stem/progenitor cells in many adult organs, they typically fail to transform cells. Multiple ephrins and Eph receptors are often co-expressed and are thought to be redundant, but we here describe an unexpected dichotomy with two homologous ligands, ephrin-B1 and ephrin-B2, regulating specifically migration or proliferation in the intestinal stem cell niche. We demonstrate that the combined activity of two different coexpressed Eph receptors of the A and B class assembled into common signaling clusters in response to ephrin-B2 is required for mitogenic signaling. The requirement of two different Eph receptors to convey mitogenic signals identifies a new type of cooperation within this receptor family and helps explain why constitutive activation of a single receptor fails to transform cells.

Keywords: Eph receptors; Ephrins; Intestinal stem cell niche; Proliferation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Ephrin-B1 / metabolism
  • Ephrin-B2 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intestines / cytology
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Phosphorylation
  • Proteolysis
  • Receptors, Eph Family / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Stem Cell Niche
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism


  • Ephrin-B1
  • Ephrin-B2
  • Receptors, Eph Family