Ligand targeting of EphA2 enhances keratinocyte adhesion and differentiation via desmoglein 1.
ABSTRACT: EphA2 is a receptor tyrosine kinase that is engaged and activated by membrane-linked ephrin-A ligands residing on adjacent cell surfaces. Ligand targeting of EphA2 has been implicated in epithelial growth regulation by inhibiting the extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (Erk1/2)-mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. Although contact-dependent EphA2 activation was required for dampening Erk1/2-MAPK signaling after a calcium switch in primary human epidermal keratinocytes, the loss of this receptor did not prevent exit from the cell cycle. Incubating keratinocytes with a soluble ephrin-A1-Fc peptide mimetic to target EphA2 further increased receptor activation leading to its down-regulation. Moreover, soluble ligand targeting of EphA2 restricted the lateral expansion of epidermal cell colonies without limiting proliferation in these primary cultures. Rather, ephrin-A1-Fc peptide treatment promoted epidermal cell colony compaction and stratification in a manner that was associated with increased keratinocyte differentiation. The ligand-dependent increase in keratinocyte adhesion and differentiation relied largely upon the up-regulation of desmoglein 1, a desmosomal cadherin that maintains the integrity and differentiated state of suprabasal keratinocytes in the epidermis. These data suggest that keratinocytes expressing EphA2 in the basal layer may respond to ephrin-A1-based cues from their neighbors to facilitate entry into a terminal differentiation pathway.
Project description:EphA2 receptor tyrosine kinase is activated by ephrin-A1 ligand, which harbors a glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor that enhances lipid raft localization. Although EphA2 and ephrin-A1 modulate keratinocyte migration and differentiation, the ability of this cell-cell communication complex to localize to different membrane regions in keratinocytes remains unknown. Using a combination of biochemical and imaging approaches, we provide evidence that ephrin-A1 and a ligand-activated form of EphA2 partition outside of lipid raft domains in response to calcium-mediated cell-cell contact stabilization in normal human epidermal keratinocytes. EphA2 transmembrane domain swapping with a shorter and molecularly distinct transmembrane domain of EphA1 resulted in decreased localization of this receptor tyrosine kinase at cell-cell junctions and increased expression of ephrin-A1, which is a negative regulator of keratinocyte migration. Accordingly, altered EphA2 membrane distribution at cell-cell contacts limited the ability of keratinocytes to seal linear scratch wounds in vitro in an ephrin-A1-dependent manner. Collectively, these studies highlight a key role for the EphA2 transmembrane domain in receptor-ligand membrane distribution at cell-cell contacts that modulates ephrin-A1 levels to allow for efficient keratinocyte migration with relevance for cutaneous wound healing.
Project description:EphA2 is a receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) that triggers keratinocyte differentiation upon activation and subsequent downregulation by ephrin-A1 ligand. The objective of this study was to determine whether the EphA2/ephrin-A1 signaling axis was altered in psoriasis, an inflammatory skin condition in which keratinocyte differentiation is abnormal. Microarray analysis of skin biopsies from psoriasis patients revealed increased mRNA transcripts for several members of this RTK family in plaques, including the EphA1, EphA2, and EphA4 subtypes prominently expressed by keratinocytes. Of these, EphA2 showed the greatest upregulation, a finding that was confirmed by quantitative reverse-transcriptase-PCR, immunohistochemistry (IHC), and ELISA. In contrast, psoriatic lesions exhibited reduced ephrin-A ligand immunoreactivity. Exposure of primary keratinocytes induced to differentiate in high calcium or a three-dimensional (3D) raft culture of human epidermis to a combination of growth factors and cytokines elevated in psoriasis increased EphA2 mRNA and protein expression while inducing S100A7 and disrupting differentiation. Pharmacological delivery of a soluble ephrin-A1 peptidomimetic ligand led to a reduction in EphA2 expression and ameliorated proliferation and differentiation in raft cultures exposed to EGF and IL-1?. These findings suggest that ephrin-A1-mediated downregulation of EphA2 supports keratinocyte differentiation in the context of cytokine perturbation.
Project description:Eph/ephrin signaling proteins are present in the corneal epithelium, where their function remains unknown. The authors examined the role of the EphA2 receptor and ephrin-A1 ligand in human corneal epithelial cell migration.Immunohistochemical analysis of EphA2 and ephrin-A1 in healthy and diabetic corneas was performed in concert with linear scratch wound healing studies in primary and telomerase-immortalized human corneal epithelial cells. Corneal epithelial cells were exposed to a soluble ephrin-A1-Fc peptide mimetic that targets EphA2 to trigger receptor phosphorylation and subsequent downregulation. Genetic modulation of EphA2 and ephrin-A1 levels was combined with manipulation of Erk1/2 or Akt signaling during wound healing.EphA2 was immunolocalized to human corneal epithelial cells in vivo and in vitro. Ephrin-A1 ligand targeting of EphA2 restricted the ability of corneal epithelial cells to seal linear scratch wounds in a manner that was associated with a transient reduction in Erk1/2 and Akt activation state. Ephrin-A1-Fc treatment delayed wound healing independently of Mek-Erk1/2 signaling but was no longer capable of restricting migration after pharmacologic blockade of the PI3K-Akt pathway. Interestingly, ephrin-A1 immunoreactivity was increased in the corneal epithelia of diabetic individuals, mice maintained on a high-fat diet, or cultured corneal epithelial cells exposed to high glucose, which exhibit impaired Akt signaling and slower wound healing responses.EphA2 attenuates corneal epithelial cell migration when stimulated by ephrin-A1 ligand in a manner that involves the suppression of Akt. Elevated levels of ephrin-A1 may contribute to diabetic keratopathies by persistently engaging EphA2 and prohibiting Akt-dependent corneal epithelial repair processes.
Project description:Progenitor cells of the limbal epithelium reside in a discrete area peripheral to the more differentiated corneal epithelium and maintain tissue homeostasis. What regulates the limbal-corneal epithelial boundary is a major unanswered question. Ephrin-A1 ligand is enriched in the limbal epithelium, whereas EphA2 receptor is concentrated in the corneal epithelium. This reciprocal pattern led us to assess the role of ephrin-A1 and EphA2 in limbal-corneal epithelial boundary organization.EphA2-expressing corneal epithelial cells engineered to express ephrin-A1 were used to study boundary formation in vitro in a manner that mimicked the relative abundance of these juxtamembrane signaling proteins in the limbal and corneal epithelium in vivo. Interaction of these two distinct cell populations following initial seeding into discrete culture compartments was assessed by live cell imaging. Immunofluoresence and immunoblotting was used to evaluate the contribution of downstream growth factor signaling and cell-cell adhesion systems to boundary formation at sites of heterotypic contact between ephrin-A1 and EphA2 expressing cells.Ephrin-A1-expressing cells impeded and reversed the migration of EphA2-expressing corneal epithelial cells upon heterotypic contact formation leading to coordinated migration of the two cell populations in the direction of an ephrin-A1-expressing leading front. Genetic silencing and pharmacologic inhibitor studies demonstrated that the ability of ephrin-A1 to direct migration of EphA2-expressing cells depended on an a disintegrin and metalloproteinase domain-containing protein 10 (ADAM10) and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling pathway that limited E-cadherin-mediated adhesion at heterotypic boundaries.Ephrin-A1/EphA2 signaling complexes play a key role in limbal-corneal epithelial compartmentalization and the response of these tissues to injury.
Project description:Ephrins are ligands for the Eph receptor tyrosine kinases, which play important roles in patterning nervous and vascular systems. Ephrin-A1 is a glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored ligand that binds to the EphA receptor tyrosine kinases. In the present study, we have identified a new ephrin-A1 isoform, denoted ephrin-A1b (ephrin-A1 isoform b). Compared with the originally described ephrin-A1 sequence, ephrin-A1a [Holzman, Marks and Dixit (1990) Mol. Cell. Biol. 10, 5830-5838], ephrin-A1b lacks a segment of 22 amino acids (residues 131-152). At the transcript level, exon 3 is spliced out in the transcript encoding ephrin-A1b. Transfection of HEK-293T cells (human embryonic kidney 293 cells) with an ephrin-A1b-expressing plasmid resulted in a significant expression of the protein on the cell surface. However, soluble EphA2 receptor (EphA2-Fc) bound weakly to ephrin-A1b-expressing transfectants, but bound strongly to ephrin-A1a-expressing transfectants. Ephrins have been shown to undergo regulated cleavage after interaction with their receptors. This process is inhibited by co-expression of ephrin-A1a and ephrin-A1b, indicating that ephrin-A1b influences the cleavage process. Taken together, these findings indicate that this newly described isoform may regulate the function of its ephrin-A1a counterpart.
Project description:The EphA2 receptor and its ephrin-A1 ligand form a key cell communication system, which has been found overexpressed in many cancer types and involved in tumor growth. Recent medicinal chemistry efforts have identified bile acid derivatives as low micromolar binders of the EphA2 receptor. However, these compounds suffer from poor physicochemical properties, hampering their use in vivo. The identification of compounds able to disrupt the EphA2-ephrin-A1 complex lacking the bile acid scaffold may lead to new pharmacological tools suitable for in vivo studies. To identify the most promising virtual screening (VS) protocol aimed at finding novel EphA2 antagonists, we investigated the ability of both ligand-based and structure-based approaches to retrieve known EphA2 antagonists from libraries of decoys with similar molecular properties. While ligand-based VSs were conducted using UniPR129 and ephrin-A1 ligand as reference structures, structure-based VSs were performed with Glide, using the X-ray structure of the EphA2 receptor/ephrin-A1 complex. A comparison of enrichment factors showed that ligand-based approaches outperformed the structure-based ones, suggesting ligand-based methods using the G-H loop of ephrin-A1 ligand as template as the most promising protocols to search for novel EphA2 antagonists.
Project description:The EphA2 receptor tyrosine kinase is overexpressed in a number of malignancies and is activated by ephrin ligands, most commonly by ephrin-A1. The crystal structure of the ligand-receptor complex revealed a glycosylation on the Asn-26 of ephrin-A1. Here we report for the first time the significance of the glycosylation in the biology of EphA2 and ephrin-A1. Ephrin-A1 was enzymatically deglycosylated, and its activity was evaluated in several assays using glioblastoma (GBM) cells and recombinant EphA2. We found that deglycosylated ephrin-A1 does not efficiently induce EphA2 receptor internalization and degradation, and does not activate the downstream signaling pathways involved in cell migration and proliferation. Data obtained by surface plasmon resonance confirms that deglycosylated ephrin-A1 does not bind EphA2 with high affinity. Mutations in the glycosylation site on ephrin-A1 result in protein aggregation and mislocalization. Analysis of Eph/ephrin crystal structures reveals an interaction between the ligand's carbohydrates and two residues of EphA2: Asp-78 and Lys-136. These findings suggest that the glycosylation on ephrin-A1 plays a critical role in the binding and activation of the EphA2 receptor.
Project description:Eph signaling, which arises following stimulation by ephrins, is known to induce opposite cell behaviors such as promoting and inhibiting cell adhesion as well as promoting cell-cell adhesion and repulsion by altering the organization of the actin cytoskeleton and influencing the adhesion activities of integrins. However, crosstalk between Eph/ephrin with integrin signaling has not been fully elucidated in leukocytes, including monocytes and their related cells. Using a cell attachment stripe assay, we have shown that, following stimulation with ephrin-A1, kinase-independent EphA2 promoted cell spreading/elongation as well as adhesion to integrin ligand-coated surfaces in cultured U937 (monocyte) and J774.1 (monocyte/macrophage) cells as well as sublines of these cells expressing dominant negative EphA2 that lacks most of the intracellular region. Moreover, a pull-down assay showed that dominant negative EphA2 is recruited to the ?2 integrin/ICAM1 and ?2 integrin/VCAM1 molecular complexes in the subline cells following stimulation with ephrin-A1-Fc. Notably, this study is the first comprehensive analysis of the effects of EphA2 receptors on integrin-mediated cell adhesion in monocytic cells. Based on these findings we propose that EphA2 promotes cell adhesion by an unknown signaling pathway that largely depends on the extracellular region of EphA2 and the activation of outside-in integrin signaling.
Project description:Eph signaling is known to induce contrasting cell behaviors such as promoting and inhibiting cell adhesion/spreading by altering F-actin organization and influencing integrin activities. We have previously demonstrated that EphA2 stimulation by ephrin-A1 promotes cell adhesion through interaction with integrins and integrin ligands in two monocyte/macrophage cell lines. Although mature mononuclear leukocytes express several members of the EphA/ephrin-A subclass, their expression has not been examined in monocytes undergoing during differentiation and maturation.Using RT-PCR, we have shown that EphA2, ephrin-A1, and ephrin-A2 expression was upregulated in murine bone marrow mononuclear cells during monocyte maturation. Moreover, EphA2 and EphA4 expression was induced, and ephrin-A4 expression was upregulated, in a human promyelocytic leukemia cell line, HL60, along with monocyte differentiation toward the classical CD14++CD16- monocyte subset. Using RT-PCR and flow cytometry, we have also shown that expression levels of ?L, ?M, ?X, and ?2 integrin subunits were upregulated in HL60 cells along with monocyte differentiation while those of ?4, ?5, ?6, and ?1 subunits were unchanged. Using a cell attachment stripe assay, we have shown that stimulation by EphA as well as ephrin-A, likely promoted adhesion to an integrin ligand-coated surface in HL60 monocytes. Moreover, EphA and ephrin-A stimulation likely promoted the formation of protrusions in HL60 monocytes.Notably, this study is the first analysis of EphA/ephrin-A expression during monocytic differentiation/maturation and of ephrin-A stimulation affecting monocyte adhesion to an integrin ligand-coated surface. Thus, we propose that monocyte adhesion via integrin activation and the formation of protrusions is likely promoted by stimulation of EphA as well as of ephrin-A.