EPHB2 carried on small extracellular vesicles induces tumor angiogenesis via activation of ephrin reverse signaling.
ABSTRACT: Angiogenesis is a key process that allows nutrient uptake and cellular trafficking and is coopted in cancer to enable tumor growth and metastasis. Recently, extracellular vesicles (EVs) have been shown to promote angiogenesis; however, it is unclear what unique features EVs contribute to the process. Here, we studied the role of EVs derived from head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) in driving tumor angiogenesis. Small EVs (SEVs), in the size range of exosomes (50-150 nm), induced angiogenesis both in vitro and in vivo. Proteomic analysis of HNSCC SEVs revealed the cell-to-cell signaling receptor ephrin type B receptor 2 (EPHB2) as a promising candidate cargo to promote angiogenesis. Analysis of patient data further identified EPHB2 overexpression in HNSCC tumors to be associated with poor patient prognosis and tumor angiogenesis, especially in the context of overexpression of the exosome secretion regulator cortactin. Functional experiments revealed that EPHB2 expression in SEVs regulated angiogenesis both in vitro and in vivo and that EPHB2 carried by SEVs stimulates ephrin-B reverse signaling, inducing STAT3 phosphorylation. A STAT3 inhibitor greatly reduced SEV-induced angiogenesis. These data suggest a model in which EVs uniquely promote angiogenesis by transporting Eph transmembrane receptors to nonadjacent endothelial cells to induce ephrin reverse signaling.
Project description:Local cerebral hypoperfusion causes ischemic stroke while driving multiple cell-specific responses including inflammation, glutamate-induced neurotoxicity mediated via NMDAR, edema formation and angiogenesis. Despite the relevance of these pathophysiological mechanisms for disease progression and outcome, molecular determinants controlling the onset of these processes are only partially understood. In this context, our study intended to investigate the functional role of EphB2, a receptor tyrosine kinase that is crucial for synapse function and binds to membrane-associated ephrin-B ligands.Cerebral ischemia was induced in Ephb2-/- mice by transient middle cerebral artery occlusion followed by different times (6, 12, 24 and 48?h) of reperfusion. Histological, neurofunctional and transcriptome analyses indicated an increase in EphB2 phosphorylation under these conditions and attenuated progression of stroke in Ephb2-/- mice. Moreover, while infiltration of microglia/macrophages and astrocytes into the peri-infarct region was not altered, expression of the pro-inflammatory mediators MCP-1 and IL-6 was decreased in these mice. In vitro analyses indicated that binding of EphB2 to astrocytic ephrin-B ligands stimulates NF-?B-mediated cytokine expression via the MAPK pathway. Further magnetic resonance imaging of the Ephb2-/- ischemic brain revealed a lower level of cytotoxic edema formation within 6?h upon onset of reperfusion. On the mechanistic level, absence of neuronal EphB2 decreased the mitochondrial Ca2+ load upon specific activation of NMDAR but not during synaptic activity. Furthermore, neuron-specific loss of ephrin-B2 reduced the extent of cerebral tissue damage in the acute phase of ischemic stroke.Collectively, EphB2 may promote the immediate response to an ischemia-reperfusion event in the central nervous system by (i) pro-inflammatory activation of astrocytes via ephrin-B-dependent signaling and (ii) amplification of NMDA-evoked neuronal excitotoxicity.
Project description:Eph/ephrin signaling has been implicated in various types of key cancer-enhancing processes, like migration, proliferation, and angiogenesis. In medulloblastoma, invading tumor cells characteristically lead to early recurrence and a decreased prognosis. Based on kinase-activity profiling data published recently, we hypothesized a key role for the Eph/ephrin signaling system in medulloblastoma invasion. In primary medulloblastoma samples, a significantly higher expression of EphB2 and the ligand ephrin-B1 was observed compared with normal cerebellum. Furthermore, medulloblastoma cell lines showed high expression of EphA2, EphB2, and EphB4. Stimulation of medulloblastoma cells with ephrin-B1 resulted in a marked decrease in in vitro cell adhesion and an increase in the invasion capacity of cells expressing high levels of EphB2. The cell lines that showed an ephrin-B1-induced phenotype possessed increased levels of phosphorylated EphB2 and, to a lesser extent, EphB4 after stimulation. Knockdown of EphB2 expression by short hairpin RNA completely abolished ephrin ligand-induced effects on adhesion and migration. Analysis of signal transduction identified p38, Erk, and mTOR as downstream signaling mediators potentially inducing the ephrin-B1 phenotype. In conclusion, the observed deregulation of Eph/ephrin expression in medulloblastoma enhances the invasive phenotype, suggesting a potential role in local tumor cell invasion and the formation of metastases.
Project description:The Eph family of receptor tyrosine kinases has been implicated in tumorigenesis as well as pathological forms of angiogenesis. Understanding how to modulate the interaction of Eph receptors with their ephrin ligands is therefore of critical interest for the development of therapeutics to treat cancer. Previous work identified a set of 12-mer peptides that displayed moderate binding affinity but high selectivity for the EphB2 receptor. The SNEW antagonistic peptide inhibited the interaction of EphB2 with ephrinB2, with an IC50 of approximately 15 microm. To gain a better molecular understanding of how to inhibit Eph/ephrin binding, we determined the crystal structure of the EphB2 receptor in complex with the SNEW peptide to 2.3-A resolution. The peptide binds in the hydrophobic ligand-binding cleft of the EphB2 receptor, thus competing with the ephrin ligand for receptor binding. However, the binding interactions of the SNEW peptide are markedly different from those described for the TNYL-RAW peptide, which binds to the ligand-binding cleft of EphB4, indicating a novel mode of antagonism. Nevertheless, we identified a conserved structural motif present in all known receptor/ligand interfaces, which may serve as a scaffold for the development of therapeutic leads. The EphB2-SNEW complex crystallized as a homodimer, and the residues involved in the dimerization interface are similar to those implicated in mediating tetramerization of EphB2-ephrinB2 complexes. The structure of EphB2 in complex with the SNEW peptide reveals novel binding determinants that could serve as starting points in the development of compounds that modulate Eph receptor/ephrin interactions and biological activities.
Project description:EphB2 interacts with cell surface-bound ephrin ligands to relay bidirectional signals. Overexpression of the EphB2 receptor protein has been linked to different types of cancer. The SNEW (SNEWIQPRLPQH) peptide binds with high selectivity and moderate affinity to EphB2, inhibiting Eph-ephrin interactions by competing with ephrin ligands for the EphB2 high-affinity pocket. We used rigorous free energy perturbation (FEP) calculations to re-evaluate the binding interactions of SNEW peptide with the EphB2 receptor, followed by experimental testing of the computational results. Our results provide insight into dynamic interactions of EphB2 with SNEW peptide. While the first four residues of the SNEW peptide are already highly optimized, change of the C-terminal end of the peptide has the potential to improve SNEW-binding affinity. We identified a PXSPY motif that can be similarly aligned with several other EphB2-binding peptides.
Project description:Local cerebral hypoperfusion causes ischemic stroke while driving multiple cell-specific responses including inflammation, glutamate-NMDAR-mediated neurotoxicity, edema formation and angiogenesis. Despite the relevance of these pathophysiological mechanisms for disease progression and outcome, molecular determinants controlling the onset of these processes are only partially understood. In this context, our study intended to investigate the functional role of EphB2 – a receptor tyrosine kinase that is crucial for synapse function and binds to membrane-associated ephrin-B ligands. Cerebral ischemia was induced in EphB2-deficient mice by transient middle cerebral artery occlusion followed by different times (6, 12, 24 and 48 h) of reperfusion. Histological, neurofunctional and transcriptome analyses indicated an increase in EphB2 phosphorylation under these conditions and attenuated progression of stroke in EphB2-deficient mice. Moreover, while infiltration of microglia/macrophages and astrocytes into the peri-infarct region was not altered, expression of the pro-inflammatory mediators MCP-1 or IL-6 was decreased in these mice. In fact, in vitro analyses indicated that binding of EphB2 to astrocytic ephrin-B ligands stimulates NF-κB-mediated cytokine expression via the MAPK pathway. Further magnetic resonance imaging of the EphB2-deficient ischemic brain revealed a lower level of neuronal cytotoxic edema formation within 6 h upon onset of reperfusion. On the mechanistic level, absence of neuronal EphB2 decreased the mitochondrial Ca2+ load upon activation of NMDAR but not AMPAR. Moreover, activation of EphB2 by ephrin-B2 enhanced the NMDA-evoked excitotoxic neuronal cell death in vitro while neuron-specific loss of ephrin-B2 reduced the extent of cerebral tissue damage in the acute phase of ischemic stroke. Collectively, EphB2 may promote the immediate response to an ischemia-reperfusion event in the central nervous system by (i) pro-inflammatory activation of astrocytes via ephrin-B-dependent signalling and (ii) amplification of the NMDA-evoked neuronal excitotoxicity. Overall design: 3 WT and 3 Ephb2-KO mice (with a C57Bl/6 background.) were subjected to 60 min MCAo followed by 48 h of reperfusion. Brains were harvested. Bulbi and cerebellum were removed, brains were separated into hemispheres (ipsilateral=ischemic and contralateral=normoxic control). RNA was extracted from tissue for hybridization on Affymetrix microarrays. We aimed at identifying (1) genes and gene sets that are up- or down-regulated upon ischemia by comparison of ipsi- and contralateral hemispheres of the same genotype, (2) genes and gene sets that are differentially regulated between the two genotypes upon ischemia by comparison of the ipsilateral hemispheres, and (3) genes and gene sets that are differentially regulated between the two genotypes at basal levels by comparison of the contralateral hemispheres.
Project description:EphB receptors provide crucial adhesive and repulsive signals during cell migration and axon guidance, but it is unclear how they switch between these opposing responses. Here we provide evidence of an important role for matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in repulsive EphB2 signaling. We found that EphB2 is cleaved by MMPs both in vitro and in vivo, and that this cleavage is induced by interaction with its ligand ephrin-B2. Our findings demonstrate that MMP-2/MMP-9-specific inhibition or cleavage-resistant mutations in the ectodomain of EphB2 can prevent EphB2-mediated cell-cell repulsion in HEK293 cells, and block ephrin-B1-induced growth cone withdrawal in cultured hippocampal neurons. Transient expression of wtEphB2, but not noncleavable EphB2-4/5 mutant, restored ephrin-B1-induced growth cone collapse and withdrawal in EphB-deficient neurons. The inhibition of EphB2 cleavage also had potent regulatory effects on EphB2 activity. This study provides the first evidence that MMP-mediated cleavage of EphB2 is induced by receptor-ligand interactions at the cell surface and that this event triggers cell-repulsive responses.
Project description:Cellular senescence prevents the proliferation of cells at risk for neoplastic transformation. However, the altered secretome of senescent cells can promote the growth of the surrounding cancer cells. Although extracellular vesicles (EVs) have emerged as new players in intercellular communication, their role in the function of senescent cell secretome has been largely unexplored. Here, we show that exosome-like small EVs (sEVs) are important mediators of the pro-tumorigenic function of senescent cells. sEV-associated EphA2 secreted from senescent cells binds to ephrin-A1, that is, highly expressed in several types of cancer cells and promotes cell proliferation through EphA2/ephrin-A1 reverse signalling. sEV sorting of EphA2 is increased in senescent cells because of its enhanced phosphorylation resulting from oxidative inactivation of PTP1B phosphatase. Our results demonstrate a novel mechanism of reactive oxygen species (ROS)-regulated cargo sorting into sEVs, which is critical for the potentially deleterious growth-promoting effect of the senescent cell secretome.
Project description:Trans interactions of erythropoietin-producing human hepatocellular (Eph) receptors with their membrane-bound ephrin ligands generate higher-order clusters that can form extended signaling arrays. The functional relevance of the cluster size for repulsive signaling is not understood. We used chemical dimerizers and fluorescence anisotropy to generate and visualize specific EphB2 cluster species in living cells. We find that cell collapse responses are induced by small-sized EphB2 clusters, suggesting that extended EphB2 arrays are dispensable and that EphB2 activation follows an ON-OFF switch with EphB2 dimers being inactive and trimers and tetramers being fully functional. Moreover, the strength of the collapse response is determined by the abundance of multimers over dimers within a cluster population: the more dimers are present, the weaker the response. Finally, we show that the C-terminal modules of EphB2 have negative regulatory effects on ephrin-induced clustering. These results shed new light on the mechanism and regulation of EphB2 activation and provide a model on how Eph signaling translates into graded cellular responses.
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 amygdala serves as emotional center to mediate innate fear behaviors that are reflected through neuronal responses to environmental aversive cues. However, the molecular mechanism underlying the initial neuron responses is poorly understood. In this study, we monitored the innate defensive responses to aversive stimuli of either elevated plus maze or predator odor in juvenile mice and found that glutamatergic neurons were activated in amygdala. Loss of EphB2, a receptor tyrosine kinase expressed in amygdala neurons, suppressed the reactions and led to defects in spine morphogenesis and fear behaviors. We further found a coupling of spinogenesis with these threat cues induced neuron activation in developing amygdala that was controlled by EphB2. A constitutively active form of EphB2 was sufficient to rescue the behavioral and morphological defects caused by ablation of ephrin-B3, a brain-enriched ligand to EphB2. These data suggest that kinase-dependent EphB2 intracellular signaling plays a major role for innate fear responses during the critical developing period, in which spinogenesis in amygdala glutamatergic neurons was involved.Generation of innate fear responses to threat as an evolutionally conserved brain feature relies on development of functional neural circuit in amygdala, but the molecular mechanism remains largely unknown. We here identify that EphB2 receptor tyrosine kinase, which is specifically expressed in glutamatergic neurons, is required for the innate fear responses in the neonatal brain. We further reveal that EphB2 mediates coordination of spinogenesis and neuron activation in amygdala during the critical period for the innate fear. EphB2 catalytic activity plays a major role for the behavior upon EphB-ephrin-B3 binding and transnucleus neuronal connections. Our work thus indicates an essential synaptic molecular signaling within amygdala that controls synapse development and helps bring about innate fear emotions in the postnatal developing brain.