Insights into Eph receptor tyrosine kinase activation from crystal structures of the EphA4 ectodomain and its complex with ephrin-A5

Kai Xu, Dorothea Tzvetkova-Robev, Yan Xu, Yehuda Goldgur, Yee Peng Chan, Juha P. Himanen, Dimitar B. Nikolov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14634-14639
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume110
Issue number36
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Crystallography
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein
  • Transmembrane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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