Ephrins and their receptors: Binding versus biology

Carla T. Blits-Huizinga, Claudiu M. Nelersa, Arun Malhotra, Daniel J. Liebl

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Ephrins and Eph receptors play important roles in the development of the central nervous system and peripheral tissues by orchestrating cellular movements, resulting in events such as axonal growth cone guidance, tissue segmentation, and angiogenic remodeling. To understand the role of specific ephrin and Eph receptor interactions, it is important to identify the binding specificity between individual ligand-receptor complexes. To date, a dogma in the field suggests that there may be promiscuous binding within the subclasses of the ephrin family. However, this overlooks and contradicts several binding studies that suggest specificity within each subclass. Although binding studies only provide evidence on the dynamics and strength of protein interactions, they do not indicate whether particular interactions are physiologically relevant. Thus, distribution and gene targeted mutations of ephrins and their receptors can provide critical insights into the relevance of specific ligand-receptors interactions. This review mainly focuses on the B-class family and will evaluate the differences between binding affinities and biological functions, importance of oligomeric interactions, and structural differences and similarities between classes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-265
Number of pages9
JournalIUBMB life
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2004


  • Binding
  • Biological function
  • Crystal structure
  • Eph receptors
  • Ephrins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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