Ligand binding induces extensive spatial reorganization and clustering of the EphA2 receptor at the cell membrane. It has previously been shown that the nanoscale spatial distribution of ligands modulates EphA2 receptor reorganization, activation and the invasive properties of cancer cells. However, intracellular signaling downstream of EphA2 receptor activation by nanoscale spatially distributed ligands has not been elucidated. Here, we used DNA origami nanostructures to control the positions of ephrin-A5 ligands at the nanoscale and investigated EphA2 activation and transcriptional responses following ligand binding. Using RNA-seq, we determined the transcriptional profiles of human glioblastoma cells treated with DNA nanocalipers presenting a single ephrin-A5 dimer or two dimers spaced 14, 40 or 100 nm apart. These cells displayed divergent transcriptional responses to the differing ephrin-A5 nano-organization. Specifically, ephrin-A5 dimers spaced 40 or 100 nm apart showed the highest levels of differential expressed genes compared to treatment with nanocalipers that do not present ephrin-A5. These findings show that the nanoscale organization of ephrin-A5 modulates transcriptional responses to EphA2 activation.
© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.