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Tiam-Rac signaling mediates trans-endocytosis of ephrin receptor EphB2 and is important for cell repulsion.

J Cell Biol. 2016 Sep 12;214(6):735-52. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201512010. Epub 2016 Sep 5.

Authors/Editors: Gaitanos TN, Koerner J, Klein R,
Publication Date: 2016



Ephrin receptors interact with membrane-bound ephrin ligands to regulate contact-mediated attraction or repulsion between opposing cells, thereby influencing tissue morphogenesis. Cell repulsion requires bidirectional trans-endocytosis of clustered Eph–ephrin complexes at cell interfaces, but the mechanisms underlying this process are poorly understood. Here, we identified an actin-regulating pathway allowing ephrinB+ cells to trans-endocytose EphB receptors from opposing cells. Live imaging revealed Rac-dependent F-actin enrichment at sites of EphB2 internalization, but not during vesicle trafficking. Systematic depletion of Rho family GTPases and their regulatory proteins identified the Rac subfamily and the Rac-specific guanine nucleotide exchange factor Tiam2 as key components of EphB2 trans-endocytosis, a pathway previously implicated in Eph forward signaling, in which ephrins act as in trans ligands of Eph receptors. However, unlike in Eph signaling, this pathway is not required for uptake of soluble ligands in ephrinB+ cells. We also show that this pathway is required for EphB2-stimulated contact repulsion. These results support the existence of a conserved pathway for EphB trans-endocytosis that removes the physical tether between cells, thereby enabling cell repulsion.

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