Interaxonal Eph-ephrin signaling may mediate sorting of olfactory sensory axons in Manduca sexta.
ABSTRACT: We have investigated possible roles of the Eph family receptor tyrosine kinases and their ligand ephrins in the developing primary olfactory nerve pathway in the moth Manduca sexta. The Manduca homologs of the Eph receptor (MsEph) and ephrin ligand (MsEphrin) are most closely related to Drosophila Eph and ephrin, respectively. In situ labeling with Fc-fusion probes, in which IgG Fc was linked to the extracellular domain of MsEph (Eph-Fc) or MsEphrin (ephrin-Fc), reveals that both Eph receptors and ephrins are expressed on axons of olfactory receptor cells (ORCs) during their ingrowth to the primary center, the antennal lobe (AL). Interestingly, Eph receptors and ephrins are differentially distributed among identifiable glomeruli such that glomeruli with high receptor staining show little or no ligand staining, and vice versa, suggesting a complementary Eph-ephrin expression by subsets of ORC axons innervating a particular set of glomeruli. In contrast, neither Eph receptors nor ephrins are detectable in intrinsic components of the AL. In vitro, ephrin-Fc and Eph-Fc, when present homogeneously in the substratum, inhibit neurite outgrowth from olfactory epithelial explants. Moreover, in patterned substratum, neurites growing on the standard substratum turn or stop after encountering the test substratum containing ephrin-Fc. These in vitro observations indicate that MsEphrin can act as an inhibitor/repulsive cue for ORC axons. Based on results from in situ and in vitro experiments, we hypothesize that Eph receptors and ephrins mediate axon sorting and fasciculation through repulsive axon-axon interactions.
Project description:Proper function of the neural network results from the precise connections between axons and dendrites of presynaptic and postsynaptic neurons, respectively. In the Drosophila olfactory system, the dendrites of projection neurons (PNs) stereotypically target one of ?50 glomeruli in the antennal lobe (AL), the primary olfactory center in the brain, and form synapses with the axons of olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs). Here, we show that Eph and Ephrin, the well-known axon guidance molecules, instruct the dendrodendritic segregation during the discrete olfactory map formation. The Eph receptor tyrosine kinase is highly expressed and localized in the glomeruli related to reproductive behavior in the developing AL. In one of the pheromone-sensing glomeruli (DA1), the Eph cell-autonomously regulates its dendrites to reside in a single glomerulus by interacting with Ephrins expressed in adjacent PN dendrites. Our data demonstrate that the trans interaction between dendritic Eph and Ephrin is essential for the PN dendritic boundary formation in the DA1 olfactory circuit, potentially enabling strict segregation of odor detection between pheromones and the other odors.
Project description:Roles for Eph receptor tyrosine kinase and ephrin signaling in vertebrate brain development are well established. Their involvement in the modulation of mammalian synaptic structure and physiology is also emerging. However, less is known of their effects on brain development and their function in adult invertebrate nervous systems. Here, we report on the characterization of Eph receptor and ephrin orthologs in the honeybee, Apis mellifera (Am), and their role in learning and memory. In situ hybridization for mRNA expression showed a uniform distribution of expression of both genes across the developing pupal and adult brain. However, in situ labeling with Fc fusion proteins indicated that the AmEphR and Amephrin proteins were differentially localized to cell body regions in the mushroom bodies and the developing neuropiles of the antennal and optic lobes. In adults, AmEphR protein was localized to regions of synaptic contacts in optic lobes, in the glomeruli of antennal lobes, and in the medial lobe of the mushroom body. The latter two regions are involved in olfactory learning and memory in the honeybee. Injections of EphR-Fc and ephrin-Fc proteins into the brains of adult bees, 1 h before olfactory conditioning of the proboscis extension reflex, significantly reduced memory 24 h later. Experimental amnesia in the group injected with ephrin-Fc was apparent 1 h post-training. Experimental amnesia was also induced by post-training injections with ephrin-Fc suggesting a role in recall. This is the first demonstration that Eph molecules function to regulate the formation of memory in insects.
Project description:Eph receptors and their ephrin ligands are key conserved regulators of axon guidance and can function in a variety of signaling modes. Here we analyze the genetic and cellular requirements for Eph signaling in a Caenorhabditis elegans axon guidance choice point, the ventral guidance of axons in the amphid commissure. The C. elegans Eph receptor EFN-1 has both kinase-dependent and kinase-independent roles in amphid ventral guidance. Of the four C. elegans ephrins, we find that only EFN-1 has a major role in amphid axon ventral guidance, and signals in both a receptor kinase-dependent and kinase-independent manner. Analysis of EFN-1 and EFN-1 expression and tissue-specific requirements is consistent with a model in which VAB-1 acts in amphid neurons, interacting with EFN-1 expressed on surrounding cells. Unexpectedly, left-hand neurons are more strongly affected than right-hand neurons by loss of Eph signaling, indicating a previously undetected left-right asymmetry in the requirement for Eph signaling. By screening candidate genes involved in Eph signaling, we find that the Eph kinase-independent pathway involves the ABL-1 nonreceptor tyrosine kinase and possibly the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase pathway. Overexpression of ABL-1 is sufficient to rescue EFN-1 ventral guidance defects cell autonomously. Our results reveal new aspects of Eph signaling in a single axon guidance decision in vivo.
Project description:The Eph receptor tyrosine kinases and their ephrin ligands direct axon pathfinding and neuronal cell migration, and mediate many other cell-cell communication events. The Ephs and ephrins both localize to the plasma membrane and, upon cell-cell contact, form extensive signaling assemblies at the contact sites. Recent structural, biochemical and cell-biological studies revealed that these assemblies are generated not only via Eph-ephrin interactions, but also via homotypic interactions between neighboring receptor molecules. In addition, Eph-Eph interactions mediate receptor pre-clustering, which ensures fast and efficient activation once ligands come into contact range. Here we summarize the current knowledge about the homotypic Eph-Eph interactions and discuss how they could modulate the initiation of Eph/ephrin signaling.
Project description:The Eph family of receptor tyrosine kinases and their ligands the ephrins play an essential role in the targeting of retinal ganglion cell axons to topographically correct locations in the optic tectum during visual system development. The African claw-toed frog Xenopus laevis is a popular animal model for the study of retinotectal development because of its amenability to live imaging and electrophysiology. Its visual system undergoes protracted growth continuing beyond metamorphosis, yet little is known about ephrin and Eph expression patterns beyond stage 39 when retinal axons first arrive in the tectum. We used alkaline phosphatase fusion proteins of EphA3, ephrin-A5, EphB2, and ephrin-B1 as affinity probes to reveal the expression patterns of ephrin-As, EphAs, ephrin-Bs, and EphBs, respectively. Analysis of brains from stage 40 to adult frog revealed that ephrins and Eph receptors are expressed throughout development. As observed in other species, staining for ephrin-As displayed a high caudal to low rostral expression pattern across the tectum, roughly complementary to the expression of EphAs. In contrast with the prevailing model, EphBs were found to be expressed in the tectum in a high dorsal to low ventral gradient in young animals. In animals with induced binocular tectal innervation, ocular dominance bands of alternating input from the two eyes formed in the tectum; however, ephrin-A and EphA expression patterns were unmodulated and similar to those in normal frogs, confirming that the segregation of axons into eye-specific stripes is not the consequence of a respecification of molecular guidance cues in the tectum.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The tissue distributions and functions of Eph receptors and their ephrin ligands have been well studied, however less is known about their evolutionary history. We have undertaken a phylogenetic analysis of Eph receptors and ephrins from a number of invertebrate and vertebrate species.<h4>Results</h4>Our findings indicate that Eph receptors form three major clades: one comprised of non-chordate and cephalochordate Eph receptors, a second comprised of urochordate Eph receptors, and a third comprised of vertebrate Eph receptors. Ephrins, on the other hand, fall into either a clade made up of the non-chordate and cephalochordate ephrins plus the urochordate and vertebrate ephrin-Bs or a clade made up of the urochordate and vertebrate ephrin-As.<h4>Conclusion</h4>We have concluded that Eph receptors and ephrins diverged into A and B-types at different points in their evolutionary history, such that primitive chordates likely possessed an ancestral ephrin-A and an ancestral ephrin-B, but only a single Eph receptor. Furthermore, ephrin-As appear to have arisen in the common ancestor of urochordates and vertebrates, whereas ephrin-Bs have a more ancient bilaterian origin. Ancestral ephrin-B-like ligands had transmembrane domains; as GPI anchors appear to have arisen or been lost at least 3 times.
Project description:The Eph receptor tyrosine kinases mediate juxtacrine signals by interacting "in trans" with ligands anchored to the surface of neighboring cells via a GPI-anchor (ephrin-As) or a transmembrane segment (ephrin-Bs), which leads to receptor clustering and increased kinase activity. Additionally, soluble forms of the ephrin-A ligands released from the cell surface by matrix metalloproteases can also activate EphA receptor signaling. Besides these trans interactions, recent studies have revealed that Eph receptors and ephrins coexpressed in neurons can also engage in lateral "cis" associations that attenuate receptor activation by ephrins in trans with critical functional consequences. Despite the importance of the Eph/ephrin system in tumorigenesis, Eph receptor-ephrin cis interactions have not been previously investigated in cancer cells. Here we show that in cancer cells, coexpressed ephrin-A3 can inhibit the ability of EphA2 and EphA3 to bind ephrins in trans and become activated, while ephrin-B2 can inhibit not only EphB4 but also EphA3. The cis inhibition of EphA3 by ephrin-B2 implies that in some cases ephrins that cannot activate a particular Eph receptor in trans can nevertheless inhibit its signaling ability through cis association. We also found that an EphA3 mutation identified in lung cancer enhances cis interaction with ephrin-A3. These results suggest a novel mechanism that may contribute to cancer pathogenesis by attenuating the tumor suppressing effects of Eph receptor signaling pathways activated by ephrins in trans.
Project description:The cellular release of membranous vesicles known as extracellular vesicles (EVs) or exosomes represents a novel mode of intercellular communication. Eph receptor tyrosine kinases and their membrane-tethered ephrin ligands have very important roles in such biologically diverse processes as neuronal development, plasticity, and pathological diseases. Until now, it was thought that ephrin-Eph signaling requires direct cell contact. Although the biological functions of ephrin-Eph signaling are well understood, our mechanistic understanding remains modest. Here we report the release of EVs containing Ephs and ephrins by different cell types, a process requiring endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) activity and regulated by neuronal activity. Treatment of cells with purified EphB2(+) EVs induces ephrinB1 reverse signaling and causes neuronal axon repulsion. These results indicate a novel mechanism of ephrin-Eph signaling independent of direct cell contact and proteolytic cleavage and suggest the participation of EphB2(+) EVs in neural development and synapse physiology.
Project description:The precise assembly of a functional nervous system relies on the guided migration of axonal growth cones, which is made possible by signals transmitted to the cytoskeleton by cell surface-expressed guidance receptors. We investigated the function of ephexin1, a Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factor, as an essential growth-cone guidance intermediary in the context of spinal lateral motor column (LMC) motor axon trajectory selection in the limb mesenchyme. Using in situ mRNA detection, we first show that ephexin1 is expressed in LMC neurons of chick and mouse embryos at the time of spinal motor axon extension into the limb. Ephexin1 loss of function and gain of function using in ovo electroporation in chick LMC neurons, of either sex, perturbed LMC axon trajectory selection, demonstrating an essential role of ephexin1 in motor axon guidance. In addition, ephexin1 loss in mice of either sex led to LMC axon trajectory selection errors. We also show that ephexin1 knockdown attenuates the growth preference of LMC neurites against ephrins in vitro and Eph receptor-mediated retargeting of LMC axons in vivo, suggesting that ephexin1 is required in Eph-mediated LMC motor axon guidance. Finally, both ephexin1 knockdown and ectopic expression of nonphosphorylatable ephexin1 mutant attenuated the retargeting of LMC axons caused by Src overexpression, implicating ephexin1 as an Src target in Eph signal relay in this context. In summary, our findings demonstrate that ephexin1 is essential for motor axon guidance and suggest an important role in relaying ephrin:Eph signals that mediate motor axon trajectory selection.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT The proper development of functioning neural circuits requires precise nerve connections among neurons or between neurons and their muscle targets. The Eph tyrosine kinase receptors expressed in neurons are important in many contexts during neural-circuit formation, such as axon outgrowth, axon guidance, and synaptic formation, and have been suggested to be involved in neurodegenerative disorders, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease. To dissect the mechanism of Eph signal relay, we studied ephexin1 gain of function and loss of function and found ephexin1 essential for the development of limb nerves toward their muscle targets, concluding that it functions as an intermediary to relay Eph signaling in this context. Our work could thus shed new light on the molecular mechanisms controlling neuromuscular connectivity during embryonic development.
Project description:The ADAM10 transmembrane metalloprotease cleaves a variety of cell surface proteins that are important in disease, including ligands for receptor tyrosine kinases of the erbB and Eph families. ADAM10-mediated cleavage of ephrins, the ligands for Eph receptors, is suggested to control Eph/ephrin-mediated cell-cell adhesion and segregation, important during normal developmental processes, and implicated in tumour neo-angiogenesis and metastasis. We previously identified a substrate-binding pocket in the ADAM10 C domain that binds the EphA/ephrin-A complex thereby regulating ephrin cleavage. We have now generated monoclonal antibodies specifically recognising this region of ADAM10, which inhibit ephrin cleavage and Eph/ephrin-mediated cell function, including ephrin-induced Eph receptor internalisation, phosphorylation and Eph-mediated cell segregation. Our studies confirm the important role of ADAM10 in cell-cell interactions mediated by both A- and B-type Eph receptors, and suggest antibodies against the ADAM10 substrate-recognition pocket as promising therapeutic agents, acting by inhibiting cleavage of ephrins and potentially other ADAM10 substrates.