Alteration of the EphA2/Ephrin-A signaling axis in psoriatic epidermis.
ABSTRACT: 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: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 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: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/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: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.
Project description:Juxtacrine signaling interactions between the EphA2 receptor tyrosine kinase and its ephrin-A1 ligand contribute to healthy tissue maintenance and misregulation of this system is observed in at least 40% of human breast cancer. Hybrid live cell-supported membrane experiments in which membrane-linked ephrin-A1 displayed in supported membranes interacts with EphA2 in living cells have revealed large scale clustering of EphA2/ephrin-A1 complexes as well as their lateral transport across the cell surface during triggering. Here, we utilize 100 nm spaced hexagonally ordered arrays of gold nanodots embedded within supported membranes to present defined obstacles to the movement and assembly of EphA2 clusters. By functionalizing both the supported membrane and the nanodots with ephrin-A1, we perform a type of affinity chromatography on EphA2 signaling clusters in live cell membranes. Analysis of 10 different breast cancer cell lines reveals that EphA2 transport is most frustrated by nanodot arrays in the most diseased cell lines. These observations suggest that strong physical association among EphA2 receptors, as well as their assembly into larger clusters, correlates with and may contribute to the pathological misregulation of the EphA2/ephrin-A1 pathway in breast cancer.
Project description:The receptor tyrosine kinase EphA2 interacts with its glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-linked ephrin-A1 ligand in a juxtacrine configuration. The soluble ephrin-A1 protein, without its GPI membrane linker, fails to activate EphA2. However, preclustered ephrin-A1 protein is active in solution and has been frequently used to trigger the EphA2 receptor. Although this approach has yielded insights into EphA2 signaling, preclustered ligands bypass natural receptor clustering processes and thus mask any role of clustering as a signal regulatory mechanism. Here, we present EphA2-expressing cells with a fusion protein of monomeric ephrin-A1 (mEA1) and enhanced monomeric yellow fluorescent protein that is linked to a supported lipid bilayer via a nickel-decahistidine anchor. The mEA1 is homogeneously dispersed, laterally mobile, and monomeric as measured by fluorescence imaging, correlation spectroscopy, and photon counting histogram analysis, respectively. Ephrin-A1 presented in this manner activates EphA2 on the surface of MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells, as measured by EphA2 phosphorylation and degradation. Spatial mutation experiments in which nanopatterns on the underlying substrate restrict mEA1 movement in the supported lipid bilayer reveal spatio-mechanical regulation of this signaling pathway, consistent with recently reported observations using a synthetically cross-linked ephrin-A1 dimer.
Project description:Activation of the EphA2 receptor tyrosine kinase by ephrin-A1 ligands presented on apposed cell surfaces plays important roles in development and exhibits poorly understood functional alterations in cancer. We reconstituted this intermembrane signaling geometry between live EphA2-expressing human breast cancer cells and supported membranes displaying laterally mobile ephrin-A1. Receptor-ligand binding, clustering, and subsequent lateral transport within this junction were observed. EphA2 transport can be blocked by physical barriers nanofabricated onto the underlying substrate. This physical reorganization of EphA2 alters the cellular response to ephrin-A1, as observed by changes in cytoskeleton morphology and recruitment of a disintegrin and metalloprotease 10. Quantitative analysis of receptor-ligand spatial organization across a library of 26 mammary epithelial cell lines reveals characteristic differences that strongly correlate with invasion potential. These observations reveal a mechanism for spatio-mechanical regulation of EphA2 signaling pathways.