Distinctive Structure of the EphA3/Ephrin-A5 Complex Reveals a Dual Mode of Eph Receptor Interaction for Ephrin-A5.
ABSTRACT: The Eph receptor tyrosine kinase/ephrin ligand system regulates a wide spectrum of physiological processes, while its dysregulation has been implicated in cancer progression. The human EphA3 receptor is widely upregulated in the tumor microenvironment and is highly expressed in some types of cancer cells. Furthermore, EphA3 is among the most highly mutated genes in lung cancer and it is also frequently mutated in other cancers. We report the structure of the ligand-binding domain of the EphA3 receptor in complex with its preferred ligand, ephrin-A5. The structure of the complex reveals a pronounced tilt of the ephrin-A5 ligand compared to its orientation when bound to the EphA2 and EphB2 receptors and similar to its orientation when bound to EphA4. This tilt brings an additional area of ephrin-A5 into contact with regions of EphA3 outside the ephrin-binding pocket thereby enlarging the size of the interface, which is consistent with the high binding affinity of ephrin-A5 for EphA3. This large variation in the tilt of ephrin-A5 bound to different Eph receptors has not been previously observed for other ephrins.
Project description:Cell-cell interactions organize lens fiber cells into highly ordered structures to maintain transparency. However, signals regulating such interactions have not been well characterized. We report here that ephrin-A5, a ligand of the Eph receptor tyrosine kinases, plays a key role in lens fiber cell shape and cell-cell interactions. Lens fiber cells in mice lacking ephrin-A5 function appear rounded and irregular in cross-section, in contrast to their normal hexagonal appearance in WT lenses. Cataracts eventually develop in 87% of ephrin-A5 KO mice. We further demonstrate that ephrin-A5 interacts with the EphA2 receptor to regulate the adherens junction complex by enhancing recruitment of beta-catenin to N-cadherin. These results indicate that the Eph receptors and their ligands are critical regulators of lens development and maintenance.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that affects motor neurons in the brainstem, spinal cord and motor cortex. ALS is characterized by genetic and clinical heterogeneity, suggesting the existence of genetic factors that modify the phenotypic expression of the disease. We previously identified the axonal guidance EphA4 receptor, member of the Eph-ephrin system, as an ALS disease-modifying factor. EphA4 genetic inhibition rescued the motor neuron phenotype in zebrafish and a rodent model of ALS. Preventing ligands from binding to the EphA4 receptor also successfully improved disease, suggesting a role for EphA4 ligands in ALS. One particular ligand, ephrin-A5, is upregulated in reactive astrocytes after acute neuronal injury and inhibits axonal regeneration. Moreover, it plays a role during development in the correct pathfinding of motor axons towards their target limb muscles. We hypothesized that a constitutive reduction of ephrin-A5 signalling would benefit disease progression in a rodent model for ALS. We discovered that in the spinal cord of control and symptomatic ALS mice ephrin-A5 was predominantly expressed in neurons. Surprisingly, reduction of ephrin-A5 levels in SOD1G93A mice accelerated disease progression and reduced survival without affecting disease onset, motor neuron numbers or innervated neuromuscular junctions in symptomatic mice. These findings suggest ephrin-A5 as a modifier of disease progression that might play a role in the later stages of the disease. Similarly, we identified a more aggressive disease progression in patients with lower ephrin-A5 protein levels in the cerebrospinal fluid without modifying disease onset. In summary, we identified reduced expression of ephrin-A5 to accelerate disease progression in a mouse model of ALS as well as in humans. Combined with our previous findings on the role of EphA4 in ALS our current data suggests different contribution for various members of the Eph-ephrin system in the pathophysiology of a motor neuron disease.
Project description:To study the expression patterns of two Eph family molecules, the receptor EphA5, and the ligand ephrin-A5, during spinal cord development.The receptor expression was analyzed using beta-galactosidase knockin mice, and affinity ligand probe binding. The ligand expression was assessed using two different affinity probes, and knockout mouse tissues as controls.EphA5 was expressed in the ventral spinal cord, while ephrin-A5 was located in the dorsolateral regions of the spinal cord throughout development.These results show that EphA5 and ephrin-A5 are expressed over broad developmental stages and may play important roles in establishing the dorsoventral organization of the spinal cord.
Project description:Ephrin ligands interact with Eph receptors to regulate a wide variety of biological and pathological processes. Recent studies have identified several downstream pathways that mediate the functions of these receptors. Activation of the receptors by ephrin binding results in the phosphorylation of the receptor tyrosine residues. These phosphorylated residues serve as docking sites for many of the downstream signaling pathways. However, the relative contributions of different phosphotyrosine residues remain undefined. In the present study, we mutated each individual tyrosine residues in the cytoplasmic domain of EphA3 receptor and studied the effects using cell migration, process retraction, and growth cone collapse assays. Stimulation of the EphA3 receptor with ephrin-A5 inhibits 293A cell migration, reduces NG108-15 cell neurite outgrowth, and induces growth cone collapse in hippocampal neurons. Mutation of either Y602 or Y779 alone partially decreases EphA3-induced responses. Full abrogation can only be achieved with mutations of both Y602 and Y779. These observations suggest a collaborative model of different downstream pathways.
Project description:During brain development, growth cones respond to attractive and repulsive axon guidance cues. How growth cones integrate guidance instructions is poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate a link between BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor), promoting axonal branching and ephrin-A5, mediating axonal repulsion via Eph receptor tyrosine kinase activation. BDNF enhanced growth cone filopodial dynamics and neurite branching of primary neurons. We show that ephrin-A5 antagonized this BDNF-evoked neuronal motility. BDNF increased ERK phosphorylation (P-ERK) and nuclear ERK entry. Ephrin-A5 suppressed BDNF-induced ERK activity and might sequester P-ERK in the cytoplasm. Neurotrophins are well established stimulators of a neuronal immediate early gene (IEG) response. This is confirmed in this study by e.g. c-fos, Egr1 and Arc upregulation upon BDNF application. This BDNF-evoked IEG response required the transcription factor SRF (serum response factor). Notably, ephrin-A5 suppressed a BDNF-evoked neuronal IEG response, suggesting a role of Eph receptors in modulating gene expression. In opposite to IEGs, long-term ephrin-A5 application induced cytoskeletal gene expression of tropomyosin and actinin. To uncover specific Eph receptors mediating ephrin-As impact on neurotrophin signaling, EphA7 deficient mice were analyzed. In EphA7 deficient neurons alterations in growth cone morphology were observed. However, ephrin-A5 still counteracted neurotrophin signaling suggesting that EphA7 is not required for ephrin and BDNF crosstalk. In sum, our data suggest an interaction of ephrin-As and neurotrophin signaling pathways converging at ERK signaling and nuclear gene activity. As ephrins are involved in development and function of many organs, such modulation of receptor tyrosine kinase signaling and gene expression by Ephs might not be limited to the nervous system.
Project description:The Eph family tyrosine kinase receptors and their ligands, ephrins, play key roles in a wide variety of physiological and pathological processes including tissue patterning, angiogenesis, bone development, carcinogenesis, axon guidance, and neural plasticity. However, the signaling mechanisms underlying these diverse functions of Eph receptors have not been well understood. In this study, effects of Eph receptor activation on several important signal transduction pathways are examined. In addition, the roles of these pathways in ephrin-A5-induced growth cone collapse were assessed with a combination of biochemical analyses, pharmacological inhibition, and overexpression of dominant-negative and constitutively active mutants. These analyses showed that ephrin-A5 inhibits Erk activity but activates c-Jun N-terminal kinase. However, regulation of these two pathways is not required for ephrin-A5-induced growth cone collapse in hippocampal neurons. Artificial Erk activation by expression of constitutively active Mek1 and B-Raf failed to block ephrin-A5 effects on growth cones, and inhibitors of the Erk pathway also failed to inhibit collapse by ephrin-A5. Inhibition of JNK had no effects on ephrin-A5-induced growth cone collapse either. In addition, inhibitors to PKA and PI3-K showed no effects on ephrin-A5-induced growth cone collapse. However, pharmacological blockade of phosphotyrosine phosphatase activity, the Src family kinases, cGMP-dependent protein kinase, and myosin light chain kinase significantly inhibited ephrin-A5-induced growth cone collapse. These observations indicate that only a subset of signal transduction pathways is required for ephrin-A5-induced growth cone collapse.
Project description:Eph receptor tyrosine kinases and their ephrin ligands mediate cell signaling during normal and oncogenic development. Eph signaling is initiated in a multistep process leading to the assembly of higher-order Eph/ephrin clusters that set off bidirectional signaling in interacting cells. Eph and ephrins are divided in two subclasses based on their abilities to bind and activate each other and on sequence conservation. EphA4 is an exception to the general rule because it can be activated by both A- and B-class ephrin ligands. Here we present high-resolution structures of the complete EphA4 ectodomain and its complexes with ephrin-A5. The structures reveal how ligand binding promotes conformational changes in the EphA4 ligand-binding domain allowing the formation of signaling clusters at the sites of cell-cell contact. In addition, the structural data, combined with structure-based mutagenesis, reveal a previously undescribed receptor-receptor interaction between the EphA4 ligand-binding and membrane-proximal fibronectin domains, which is functionally important for efficient receptor activation.
Project description:The Eph receptor tyrosine kinases make up an important family of signal transduction molecules that control many cellular processes, including cell adhesion and movement, cell shape, and cell growth. All of these are important aspects of cancer progression, but the relationship between Eph receptors and cancer is complex and not fully understood. Genetic screens of tumor specimens from cancer patients have revealed somatic mutations in many Eph receptors. The most highly mutated Eph receptor is EphA3, but its functional role in cancer is currently not well established. Here we show that many EphA3 mutations identified in lung, colorectal, and hepatocellular cancers, melanoma, and glioblastoma impair kinase activity or ephrin ligand binding and/or decrease the level of receptor cell surface localization. These results suggest that EphA3 has ephrin- and kinase-dependent tumor suppressing activities, which are disrupted by somatic cancer mutations.
Project description:Establishment of a proper balance of excitatory and inhibitory connectivity is achieved during development of cortical networks and adjusted through synaptic plasticity. The neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) and the receptor tyrosine kinase EphA3 regulate the perisomatic synapse density of inhibitory GABAergic interneurons in the mouse frontal cortex through ephrin-A5-induced growth cone collapse. In this study, it was demonstrated that binding of NCAM and EphA3 occurred between the NCAM Ig2 domain and EphA3 cysteine-rich domain (CRD). The binding interface was further refined through molecular modeling and mutagenesis and shown to be comprised of complementary charged residues in the NCAM Ig2 domain (Arg-156 and Lys-162) and the EphA3 CRD (Glu-248 and Glu-264). Ephrin-A5 induced co-clustering of surface-bound NCAM and EphA3 in GABAergic cortical interneurons in culture. Receptor clustering was impaired by a charge reversal mutation that disrupted NCAM/EphA3 association, emphasizing the importance of the NCAM/EphA3 binding interface for cluster formation. NCAM enhanced ephrin-A5-induced EphA3 autophosphorylation and activation of RhoA GTPase, indicating a role for NCAM in activating EphA3 signaling through clustering. NCAM-mediated clustering of EphA3 was essential for ephrin-A5-induced growth cone collapse in cortical GABAergic interneurons, and RhoA and a principal effector, Rho-associated protein kinase, mediated the collapse response. This study delineates a mechanism in which NCAM promotes ephrin-A5-dependent clustering of EphA3 through interaction of the NCAM Ig2 domain and the EphA3 CRD, stimulating EphA3 autophosphorylation and RhoA signaling necessary for growth cone repulsion in GABAergic interneurons in vitro, which may extend to remodeling of axonal terminals of interneurons in vivo.
Project description:Release of cell surface-bound ligands by A-Disintegrin-And-Metalloprotease (ADAM) transmembrane metalloproteases is essential for signalling by cytokine, cell adhesion, and tyrosine kinase receptors. For Eph receptor ligands, it provides the switch between cell-cell adhesion and repulsion. Ligand shedding is tightly controlled by intrinsic tyrosine kinase activity, which for Eph receptors relies on the release of an inhibitory interaction of the cytoplasmic juxtamembrane segment with the kinase domain. However, a mechanism linking kinase and sheddase activities had remained elusive. We demonstrate that it is a membrane-proximal localisation of the latent kinase domain that prevents ephrin ligand shedding in trans. Fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy and electron tomography reveal that activation extends the Eph receptor tyrosine kinase intracellular domain away from the cell membrane into a conformation that facilitates productive association with ADAM10. Accordingly, EphA3 mutants with constitutively-released kinase domains efficiently support shedding, even when their kinase is disabled. Our data suggest that this phosphorylation-activated conformational switch of EphA3 directly controls ADAM-mediated shedding.