Gene Summary

Gene:EPHA1; EPH receptor A1
Aliases: EPH, EPHT, EPHT1
Summary:This gene belongs to the ephrin receptor subfamily of the protein-tyrosine kinase family. EPH and EPH-related receptors have been implicated in mediating developmental events, particularly in the nervous system. Receptors in the EPH subfamily typically have a single kinase domain and an extracellular region containing a Cys-rich domain and 2 fibronectin type III repeats. The ephrin receptors are divided into 2 groups based on the similarity of their extracellular domain sequences and their affinities for binding ephrin-A and ephrin-B ligands. This gene is expressed in some human cancer cell lines and has been implicated in carcinogenesis. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:ephrin type-A receptor 1
Source:NCBIAccessed: 15 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 15 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 15 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (3)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: EPHA1 (cancer-related)

Peng J, Wang Q, Liu H, et al.
EPHA3 regulates the multidrug resistance of small cell lung cancer via the PI3K/BMX/STAT3 signaling pathway.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(9):11959-11971 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Multidrug resistance (MDR) is a major obstacle to the treatment of small cell lung cancer (SCLC). EPHA3 has been revealed to be the most frequently mutated Eph receptor gene in lung cancer with abnormal expression. Growing evidence indicates that the signaling proteins of EPHA3 downstream, including PI3K, BMX and STAT3, play crucial roles in tumorigenesis and cancer progression. To explore the possible role of EPHA3 in MDR, we assessed the influence of EPHA3 on chemoresistance, cell cycle, apoptosis, and tumor growth, as well as the relationship between EPHA3 and the expression of PI3K, BMX, and STAT3 in SCLC. We observed that overexpression of EPHA3 in SCLC cells decreased chemoresistance by increasing apoptosis and inducing G0/G1 arrest, accompanied by reduced phosphorylation of PI3K/BMX/STAT3 signaling pathway. Knockdown of EPHA3 expression generated a resistant phenotype of SCLC, as a result of decreased apoptosis and induced G2/M phase arrest. And re-expression of EPHA3 in these cells reversed the resistant phenotype. Meanwhile, increased phosphorylation of PI3K/BMX/STAT3 signaling pathway was observed in these cells with EPHA3 deficiency. Notably, both PI3K inhibitor (LY294002) and BMX inhibitor (LFM-A13) impaired the chemoresistance enhanced by EPHA3 deficiency in SCLC cell lines. Furthermore, EPHA3 inhibited growth of SCLC cells in vivo and was correlated with longer overall survival of SCLC patients. Thus, we first provide the evidences that EPHA3 is involved in regulating the MDR of SCLC via PI3K/BMX/STAT3 signaling and may be a new therapeutic target in SCLC.

Johnson C, Segovia B, Kandpal RP
EPHA7 and EPHA10 Physically Interact and Differentially Co-localize in Normal Breast and Breast Carcinoma Cell Lines, and the Co-localization Pattern Is Altered in EPHB6-expressing MDA-MB-231 Cells.
Cancer Genomics Proteomics. 2016 09-10; 13(5):359-68 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Erythropoietin-producing hepatocellular carcinoma cell (EPH) receptors comprise the most abundant receptor tyrosine kinase family characterized to date in mammals including humans. These proteins are involved in axon guidance, tissue organization, vascular development and the intricate process of various diseases including cancer. These diverse functions of EPH receptors are attributed, in part, to their abilities for heterodimerization. While the interacting partners of kinase-deficient EPHB6 receptor have been characterized, the interaction of the kinase-dead EPHA10 with any other receptor has not been identified. By using co-immunoprecipitation, we demonstrated physical interaction between kinase-deficient EPHA10 with kinase-sufficient EPHA7 receptor. Immunocytochemical analyses have revealed that these two receptors co-localize on the cell surface, and soluble portions of the receptors exist as a complex in the cytoplasm as well as the nuclei. While EPHA7 and EPHA10 co-localize similarly on the membrane in MCF10A and MCF7 cells, they were differentially co-localized in MDA-MB-231 cells stably transfected with empty pcDNA vector (MDA-MB-231-PC) or an expression construct of EPHB6 (MDA-MB-231-B6). The full-length isoforms of these receptors were co-localized on the cell surface, and the soluble forms were present as a complex in the cytoplasm as well as the nucleus in MDA-MB-231-PC cells. MDA-MB-231-B6 cells, on the other hand, were distinguished by the absence of any signal in the nuclei. Our results represent the first demonstration of physical interaction between EPHA10 and EPHA7 and their cellular co-localization. Furthermore, these observations also suggest gene-regulatory functions of the complex of the soluble forms of these receptors in breast carcinoma cells of differential invasiveness.

Wang Y, Liu Z, Yao B, et al.
Long non-coding RNA TUSC7 acts a molecular sponge for miR-10a and suppresses EMT in hepatocellular carcinoma.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(8):11429-41 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Despite advances in the roles of long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) tumor suppressor candidate 7 (TUSC7) in cancer biology, which has been identified as a tumor suppressor by regulating cell proliferation, apoptosis, migration, invasion, cell cycle, and tumor growth, the function of TUSC7 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains unknown. In this study, we observed that the expression of TUSC7 was immensely decreased in HCC. Clinically, the lower expression of TUSC7 predicted poorer survival and may be an independent risk factor for HCC patients. Moreover, TUSC7 inhibited cell metastasis, invasion, and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transformation (EMT) through competitively binding miR-10a. Furthermore, we found that TUSC7 could decrease the expression of Eph tyrosine kinase receptor A4 (EphA4), a downstream target of miR-10a as well as an EMT suppressor, through TUSC7-miR-10a-EphA4 axis. Taken together, we demonstrate that TUSC7 suppresses EMT through the TUSC7-miR-10a-EphA4 axis, which may be a potential target for therapeutic intervention in HCC.

Wu BO, Jiang WG, Zhou D, Cui YX
Knockdown of EPHA1 by CRISPR/CAS9 Promotes Adhesion and Motility of HRT18 Colorectal Carcinoma Cells.
Anticancer Res. 2016; 36(3):1211-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Erythropoietin-producing hepatocellular A1 (EPHA1) is the first member of the EPH superfamily. Its abnormal expression has been reported in various cancer types. However, the contribution of EPHA1 to the regulation of colorectal cancer cell behaviour remains unknown.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this study, we investigated the expression profile of EPHA1 in human colorectal cancer and its effect on the adhesion and motility of colorectal cancer cells. We used human colorectal cancer specimens and the colorectal adenocarcinoma cell line HRT18 for this purpose.
RESULTS: Our cohort screening data showed that in patients with colorectal cancer, low expression of EPHA1 gene is correlated with a remarkably reduced survival. After EPHA1 is knocked-down in colorectal cancer cells using a clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats-associated nuclease 9 (CRISPR-CAS9) genomic editing system, we observed an increase in the spreading and adhesion of HRT18 cells. Moreover, protein array data indicated that the extracellular-regulated kinase (ERK) and c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) signaling pathways were activated as a consequence. Inhibition of ERK and JNK proteins with specific inhibitors led to suppression of migration of the colorectal cancer cells.
CONCLUSION: EPHA1 suppresses spreading and adhesion of HRT18 colorectal cancer cells through deactivation of ERK and JNK signaling pathways.

Feng Y, Tian J, Krylova I, et al.
Chronic TCDD exposure results in the dysregulation of gene expression in splenic B-lymphocytes and in the impairments in T-cell and B-cell differentiation in mouse model.
J Environ Sci (China). 2016; 39:218-27 [PubMed] Related Publications
2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) exposure in humans is associated with marked immune suppressions and increased incidence of lymphoblastic diseases. To elucidate mechanisms of impairments in humoral immune responses, we used a murine model. Following a 20-week administration of low doses of TCDD, we observed severely reduced antibody titers, dramatically decreased number of splenic Th1 and Th2 cells and an increase in CD19(+) B cells. Transcriptional profiling of CD19(+) B cells showed that markers of pre-B cells were significantly elevated, indicating delayed B cell maturation. These changes in B cells were accompanied by decreases of T helper cell numbers and reduced IgM and IgG titers. A transcriptome analysis of splenic B cells followed by Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) revealed a set of differentially expressed genes known to play roles in tumorigenesis, cell-proliferation and cell-migration. The most up-regulated transcript gene was Eph receptor A2 (EphA2), a known oncogene, and the most down-regulated transcript was ZBTB16 that codes for a negative transcriptional regulator important in epigenetic chromatin remodeling. IPA identified cAMP-responsive element modulator (CREM) and cAMP-responsive element binding protein 1 (CREB1) as top upstream regulators. Consistently, a MAPPER promoter database analysis showed that all top dysregulated genes had CREM and/or CREB1 binding sites in their promoter regions. In summary, our data showed that chronic TCDD exposure in mice caused suppressed humoral immunity accompanied with profound dysregulation of gene expression in splenic B-lymphocytes, likely through cAMP-dependent pathways. This dysregulation resulted in impairments in T-cell and B-cell differentiation and activation of the tumorigenic transcription program.

Jin Q, Li XJ, Cao PG
MicroRNA-26b Enhances the Radiosensitivity of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells by Targeting EphA2.
Tohoku J Exp Med. 2016; 238(2):143-51 [PubMed] Related Publications
Sensitizing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells to irradiation is important to achieve satisfactory therapeutic effect with low-dose radiotherapy. Erythropoietin-producing hepatocellular carcinoma A2 (EphA2) is a member of the Eph receptor family that constitutes the largest family of tyrosine kinase receptors. EphA2 overexpression is one of the poor prognostic factors in many progressive cancers. Importantly, EphA2 is a potential target of microRNA-26b (miR-26b), and miR-26b expression is down-regulated in several types of cancer. In this study, we measured the expression levels of miR-26b and EphA2 protein in seven human HCC cell lines by quantitative PCR and western blot analysis, respectively. Overall, lower miR-26b expression levels tended to be associated with higher EphA2 levels in HCC cell lines. Among the cell lines examined, 97H HCC cells expressed the lowest level of miR-26b and highest level of EphA2 protein. Thus, using 97H HCC cells, EphA2 mRNA was verified as the target of miR-26b by the luciferase reporter assay. Accordingly, a synthetic miR-26b, miR-26b mimics, was used to mimic the function of endogenous miR-26b. In 97H HCC cells transfected with miR-26b mimics or short-hairpin RNA targeting EphA2 mRNA, expression of EphA2 protein was reduced, which was associated with significantly lower proliferation rate and invasion ability and with higher apoptosis rate in response to low-dose irradiation, compared to control cells. In contrast, 97H HCC cells over-expressing EphA2 showed higher proliferation rate and invasion ability and lower apoptosis rate upon irradiation. These data suggest that miR-26b enhances the radiosensitivity of 97H HCC cells by targeting EphA2 protein.

Taki S, Kamada H, Inoue M, et al.
A Novel Bispecific Antibody against Human CD3 and Ephrin Receptor A10 for Breast Cancer Therapy.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(12):e0144712 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Ephrin receptor A10 (EphA10), a transmembrane receptor that binds to ephrin, is a newly identified breast cancer marker protein that has also been detected in HER2-negative tissue. In this study, we report creation of a novel bispecific antibody (BsAb) binding both EphA10 and CD3, thereby forming a bridge between antigens expressed on both tumor and immune cells and promoting recognition of tumor cells by immune cells and redirection of cytotoxic T cells (CTL). This BsAb (EphA10/CD3) was expressed in supernatants of BsAb gene-transfected cells as monomeric and dimeric molecules. Redirected T-cell lysis was observed when monomeric and dimeric BsAb were added to EphA10-overexpressing tumor cells in vitro. Furthermore, dimeric BsAb (EphA10/CD3) was more cytotoxic than monomeric BsAb, with efficient tumor cell lysis elicited by lower concentrations (≤10(-1) μg/mL) and a lower effector to target (E/T) cell ratio (E/T = 2.5). Dimeric BsAb (EphA10/CD3) also showed significant anti-tumor effects in human xenograft mouse models. Together, these results revealed opportunities to redirect the activity of CTL towards tumor cells that express EphA10 using the BsAb (EphA10/CD3), which could be tested in future clinical trials as a novel and potent therapeutic for breast cancer tumors.

Li S, Wu Z, Chen Y, et al.
Diagnostic and prognostic value of tissue and circulating levels of Ephrin-A2 in prostate cancer.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(4):5365-74 [PubMed] Related Publications
Ephrin-A2, a member of the Eph/ephrin family, is associated with tumorigenesis and tumor progression. This study aimed to assess the diagnostic and prognostic value of both serum and tissue levels of Ephrin-A2 in prostate cancer (PCa) management. One hundred and forty-five frozen prostate tissues, 55 paraffin-embedded prostate tissues, 88 serum samples, and seven prostate cell lines (RWPE-1, LNCaP, LNCaP-LN3, PC-3, PC-3M, PC-3M-LN4, and DU145) were examined via quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (qRT-PCR), immunohistochemistry, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and western blotting. Induced Ephrin-A2 messenger RNA (mRNA) or protein expression was detected in 8.6 % (5/58) benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), 59.8 % (52/87) PCa, and five prostate cancer cell lines. Ephrin-A2 immunostaining was present in 6.7 % (1/15) patients with BPHs and 62.5 % (25/40) clinically localized PCa. Accordingly, serum Ephrin-A2 was significantly higher in PCa patients compared to those in the BPH patients and controls (P < 0.001). The expression of Ephrin-A2 was higher in tumor patients with an elevated Gleason score or T3-T4 staging. Ephrin-A2 expression was correlated with Ki-67 expression in PCa patients, both at the gene scale and protein level. Our data indicate that Ephrin-A2 is a potential diagnostic and prognostic biomarker and a promising molecular therapeutic target to attenuate prostate cancer progression.

Takano H, Nakamura T, Tsuchikawa T, et al.
Inhibition of Eph receptor A4 by 2,5-dimethylpyrrolyl benzoic acid suppresses human pancreatic cancer growing orthotopically in nude mice.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(38):41063-76 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Ephrin receptor A4 (EphA4) is overexpressed in human pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and activate cell growth. Recent studies have identified small molecules that block EphA4. In this study, we investigated the correlation between EphA4 expression and the prognosis of patients with PDAC. We also examined the cytostatic efficacy of 2,5-dimethylpyrrolyl benzoic acid (compound 1), a small molecule that blocks EphA4, in PDAC cells. Overall survival of patients with EphA4 positivity was significantly shorter than that of patients with EphA4 negativity (P = 0.029). In addition, multivariate analysis revealed that EphA4 expression was an independent prognostic factor in PDAC patients (P = 0.039). Compound 1 showed a cytostatic efficacy in PDAC cells expressing EphA4 in vitro and in vivo. Our study indicated that compound 1 suppressed both EphA4 and Akt phosphorylations, and induced apoptosis in PDAC cells expressing EphA4. In conclusion, compound 1 has a high potential as a therapeutic agent for patients with PDAC.

Mäki-Nevala S, Sarhadi VK, Knuuttila A, et al.
Driver Gene and Novel Mutations in Asbestos-Exposed Lung Adenocarcinoma and Malignant Mesothelioma Detected by Exome Sequencing.
Lung. 2016; 194(1):125-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Asbestos is a carcinogen linked to malignant mesothelioma (MM) and lung cancer. Some gene aberrations related to asbestos exposure are recognized, but many associated mutations remain obscure. We performed exome sequencing to determine the association of previously known mutations (driver gene mutations) with asbestos and to identify novel mutations related to asbestos exposure in lung adenocarcinoma (LAC) and MM.
METHODS: Exome sequencing was performed on DNA from 47 tumor tissues of MM (21) and LAC (26) patients, 27 of whom had been asbestos-exposed (18 MM, 9 LAC). In addition, 9 normal lung/blood samples of LAC were sequenced. Novel mutations identified from exome data were validated by amplicon-based deep sequencing. Driver gene mutations in BRAF, EGFR, ERBB2, HRAS, KRAS, MET, NRAS, PIK3CA, STK11, and ephrin receptor genes (EPHA1-8, 10 and EPHB1-4, 6) were studied for both LAC and MM, and in BAP1, CUL1, CDKN2A, and NF2 for MM.
RESULTS: In asbestos-exposed MM patients, previously non-described NF2 frameshift mutation (one) and BAP1 mutations (four) were detected. Exome data mining revealed some genes potentially associated with asbestos exposure, such as MRPL1 and SDK1. BAP1 and COPG1 mutations were seen exclusively in MM. Pathogenic KRAS mutations were common in LAC patients (42 %), both in non-exposed (n = 5) and exposed patients (n = 6). Pathogenic BRAF mutations were found in two LACs.
CONCLUSION: BAP1 mutations occurred in asbestos-exposed MM. MRPL1, SDK1, SEMA5B, and INPP4A could possibly serve as candidate genes for alterations associated with asbestos exposure. KRAS mutations in LAC were not associated with asbestos exposure.

Liersch-Löhn B, Slavova N, Buhr HJ, Bennani-Baiti IM
Differential protein expression and oncogenic gene network link tyrosine kinase ephrin B4 receptor to aggressive gastric and gastroesophageal junction cancers.
Int J Cancer. 2016; 138(5):1220-31 [PubMed] Related Publications
Transmembrane tyrosine-kinase Ephrin receptors promote tumor progression and/or metastasis of several malignancies including leukemia, follicular lymphoma, glioma, malignant pleural mesothelioma, papillary thyroid carcinoma, sarcomas and ovarian, breast, bladder and non-small cell lung cancers. They also drive intestinal stem cell proliferation and positioning, control intestinal tissue boundaries and are involved in liver, pancreatic and colorectal cancers, indicating involvement in additional digestive system malignancies. We investigated the role of Ephrin-B4 receptor (EPHB4), and its ligand EFNB2, in gastric and gastroesophageal junction cancers in patient cohorts through computational, mathematical, molecular and immunohistochemical analyses. We show that EPHB4 is upregulated in preneoplastic gastroesophageal lesions and its expression further increased in gastroesophageal cancers in several independent cohorts. The closely related EPHB6 receptor, which also binds EFNB2, was downregulated in all tested cohorts, consistent with its tumor-suppressive properties in other cancers. EFNB2 expression is induced in esophageal cells by acidity, suggesting that gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may constitute an early triggering event in activating EFNB2-EPHB4 signaling. Association of EPHB4 to both Barrett's esophagus and to advanced tumor stages, and its overexpression at the tumor invasion front and vascular endothelial cells intimate the notion that EPHB4 may be associated with multiple steps of gastroesophageal tumorigenesis. Analysis of oncogenomic signatures uncovered the first EPHB4-associated gene network (false discovery rate: 7 × 10(-90) ) composed of a five-transcription factor interconnected gene network that drives proliferation, angiogenesis and invasiveness. The EPHB4 oncogenomic network provides a molecular basis for its role in tumor progression and points to EPHB4 as a potential tumor aggressiveness biomarker and drug target in gastroesophageal cancers.

Bhatia S, Hirsch K, Baig NA, et al.
Effects of altered ephrin-A5 and EphA4/EphA7 expression on tumor growth in a medulloblastoma mouse model.
J Hematol Oncol. 2015; 8:105 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Members of the Eph/ephrin gene families act as key regulators of cerebellar development during embryogenesis. Aberrant signaling of Eph family of receptor tyrosine kinases and their ephrin ligands has also been implicated in human cancers. Medulloblastoma is an aggressive primitive neuroectodermal tumor that originates from granule neuron precursors in the cerebellum. Previous studies have suggested a role for the ephrin-A5 ligand and its receptors, EphA4 and EphA7, in granule cell-precursor formation and in guiding cell migration. In the present study, we investigated the effects of genetic loss of ephrin-A5, EphA4, and EphA7 on the spatiotemporal development of medulloblastoma tumors in the context of the smoothened transgenic mouse model system.
FINDINGS: Radiographic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed to monitor tumor growth in a genetically engineered mouse model of medulloblastoma. Tumor tissue was harvested to determine changes in the expression of phosphorylated Akt by Western blotting. This helped to establish a correlation between genotype and/or tumor size and survival. Our in vivo data establish that in ND2-SmoA1 transgenic mice, the homozygous deletion of ephrin-A5 resulted in a consistent pattern of tumor growth inhibition compared to their ephrin-A5 wild-type littermate controls, while the loss of EphA4/EphA7 failed to produce consistent effects versus EphA4/EphA7 wild-type mice. A positive correlation was evident between tumor size, p-Akt, and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) expression in our transgenic mouse model system, regardless of genotype.
CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, our findings underscore the importance of targeting specific members of the Eph/ephrin families in conjunction with the Akt pathway in order to inhibit medulloblastoma tumor growth and progression.

Dunne PD, Dasgupta S, Blayney JK, et al.
EphA2 Expression Is a Key Driver of Migration and Invasion and a Poor Prognostic Marker in Colorectal Cancer.
Clin Cancer Res. 2016; 22(1):230-42 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: EphA2, a member of the Eph receptor tyrosine kinases family, is an important regulator of tumor initiation, neovascularization, and metastasis in a wide range of epithelial and mesenchymal cancers; however, its role in colorectal cancer recurrence and progression is unclear.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: EphA2 expression was determined by immunohistochemistry in stage II/III colorectal tumors (N = 338), and findings correlated with clinical outcome. The correlation between EphA2 expression and stem cell markers CD44 and Lgr5 was examined. The role of EphA2 in migration/invasion was assessed using a panel of KRAS wild-type (WT) and mutant (MT) parental and invasive colorectal cancer cell line models.
RESULTS: Colorectal tumors displayed significantly higher expression levels of EphA2 compared with matched normal tissue, which positively correlated with high CD44 and Lgr5 expression levels. Moreover, high EphA2 mRNA and protein expression were found to be associated with poor overall survival in stage II/III colorectal cancer tissues, in both univariate and multivariate analyses. Preclinically, we found that EphA2 was highly expressed in KRASMT colorectal cancer cells and that EphA2 levels are regulated by the KRAS-driven MAPK and RalGDS-RalA pathways. Moreover, EphA2 levels were elevated in several invasive daughter cell lines, and downregulation of EphA2 using RNAi or recombinant EFNA1 suppressed migration and invasion of KRASMT colorectal cancer cells.
CONCLUSIONS: These data show that EpHA2 is a poor prognostic marker in stage II/III colorectal cancer, which may be due to its ability to promote cell migration and invasion, providing support for the further investigation of EphA2 as a novel prognostic biomarker and therapeutic target.

Dimasi N, Fleming R, Hay C, et al.
Development of a Trispecific Antibody Designed to Simultaneously and Efficiently Target Three Different Antigens on Tumor Cells.
Mol Pharm. 2015; 12(9):3490-501 [PubMed] Related Publications
Targeting Eph (erythropoietin producing hepatoma) receptors with monoclonal antibodies is being explored as therapy for several types of cancer. To test whether simultaneous targeting of EphA2, EphA4, and EphB4 would be an effective approach to cancer therapy, we generated a recombinant trispecific antibody using the variable domain genes of anti-EphA2, anti-EphA4, and anti-EphB4 monoclonal antibodies. A multidisciplinary approach combining biochemical, biophysical, and cellular-based assays was used to characterize the trispecific antibody in vitro and in vivo. Here we demonstrate that the trispecific antibody is expressed at high levels by mammalian cells, monodispersed in solution, thermostable, capable of simultaneously binding the three receptors, and able to activate the three targets effectively as evidenced by receptor internalization and degradation both in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, pharmacokinetic analysis using tumor-bearing nude mice showed that the trispecific antibody remains in the circulation similarly to its respective parental antibodies. These results indicate that simultaneous blockade of EphA2, EphA4, and EphB4 could be an attractive approach to cancer therapy.

Tsouko E, Wang J, Frigo DE, et al.
miR-200a inhibits migration of triple-negative breast cancer cells through direct repression of the EPHA2 oncogene.
Carcinogenesis. 2015; 36(9):1051-60 [PubMed] Related Publications
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is characterized by aggressiveness and affects 10-20% of breast cancer patients. Since TNBC lacks expression of ERα, PR and HER2, existing targeted treatments are not effective and the survival is poor. In this study, we demonstrate that the tumor suppressor microRNA miR-200a directly regulates the oncogene EPH receptor A2 (EPHA2) and modulates TNBC migration. We show that EPHA2 expression is correlated with poor survival specifically in basal-like breast cancer and that its expression is repressed by miR-200a through direct interaction with the 3'UTR of EPHA2. This regulation subsequently affects the downstream activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and results in decreased cell migration of TNBC. We establish that miR-200a directs cell migration in a dual manner; in addition to regulating the well-characterized E-cadherin pathway it also regulates a EPHA2 pathway. The miR-200a-EPHA2 axis is a novel mechanism highlighting the possibility of utilizing miR-200a delivery to target TNBC metastases.

Li S, Ma Y, Xie C, et al.
EphA6 promotes angiogenesis and prostate cancer metastasis and is associated with human prostate cancer progression.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(26):22587-97 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Metastasis is the primary cause of prostate cancer (CaP)-related death. We investigate the molecular, pathologic and clinical outcome associations of EphA6 expression and CaP metastasis. The expression profiling of Eph receptors (Ephs) and their ephrin ligands was performed in parental and metastatic CaP cell lines. Among Ephs and ephrins, only EphA6 is consistently overexpressed in metastatic CaP cells. Metastatic potential of EphA6 is assessed by RNAi in a CaP spontaneous metastasis mouse model. EphA6 knock-down in human PC-3M cells causes decreased invasion in vitro and reduced lung and lymph node metastasis in vivo. In addition, knock-down of EphA6 decreases tube formation in vitro and angiogenesis in vivo. EphA6 mRNA expression is higher in 112 CaP tumor samples compared with benign tissues from 58 benign prostate hyperplasia patients. Positive correlation was identified between EphA6 expression and vascular invasion, neural invasion, PSA level, and TNM staging in CaP cases. Further, genome-wide gene expression analysis in EphA6 knock-down cells identified a panel of differentially regulated genes including PIK3IPA, AKT1, and EIF5A2, which could contribute to EphA6-regulated cancer progression. These findings identify EphA6 as a potentially novel metastasis gene which positively correlates with CaP progression. EphA6 may be a therapeutic target in metastatic CaP.

Kampen KR, Scherpen FJ, Garcia-Manero G, et al.
EphB1 Suppression in Acute Myelogenous Leukemia: Regulating the DNA Damage Control System.
Mol Cancer Res. 2015; 13(6):982-92 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Loss of ephrin receptor (EphB1) expression may associate with aggressive cancer phenotypes; however, the mechanism of action remains unclear. To gain detailed insight into EphB1 function in acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), comprehensive analysis of EphB1 transcriptional regulation was conducted. In AML cells, EphB1 transcript was inversely correlated with EphB1 promoter methylation. The presence of EphB1 allowed EfnB1 ligand-mediated p53 DNA binding, leading to restoration of the DNA damage response (DDR) cascade by the activation of ATR, Chk1, p53, p21, p38, CDK1(tyr15), and Bax, and downregulation of HSP27 and Bcl2. Comparatively, reintroduction of EphB1 expression in EphB1-methylated AML cells enhanced the same cascade of ATR, Chk1, p21, and CDK1(tyr15), which consequently enforced programmed cell death. Interestingly, in pediatric AML samples, EphB1 peptide phosphorylation and mRNA expression were actively suppressed as compared with normal bone marrow, and a significant percentage of the primary AML specimens had EphB1 promoter hypermethylation. Finally, EphB1 repression associated with a poor overall survival in pediatric AML. Combined, the contribution of EphB1 to the DDR system reveals a tumor-suppressor function for EphB1 in pediatric AML.
IMPLICATIONS: The tumor-suppressor function of EphB1 is clinically relevant across many malignancies, suggesting that EphB1 is an important regulator of common cancer cell transforming pathways.

Weiss AC, Kispert A
Eph/ephrin signaling in the kidney and lower urinary tract.
Pediatr Nephrol. 2016; 31(3):359-71 [PubMed] Related Publications
Development and homeostasis of the highly specialized cell types and tissues that constitute the organs of the urinary system, the kidneys and ureters, the bladder, and the urethra, require the tightly regulated exchange of signals in and between these tissues. Eph/ephrin signaling is a bidirectional signaling pathway that has been functionally implicated in many developmental and homeostatic contexts, most prominently in the vascular and neural system. Expression and knockout analyses have now provided evidence that Eph/ephrin signaling is of crucial relevance for cell and tissue interactions in the urinary system as well. A clear requirement has emerged in the formation of the vesicoureteric junction, in urorectal septation and glomerulogenesis during embryonic development, in maintenance of medullary tubular cells and podocytes in homeostasis, and in podocyte and glomerular injury responses. Deregulation of Eph/ephrin signaling may also contribute to the formation and progression of tumors in the urinary system, most prominently bladder and renal cell carcinoma. While in the embryonic contexts Eph/ephrin signaling regulates adhesion of epithelial cells, in the adult setting, cell-shape changes and cell survival seem to be the primary cellular processes mediated by this signaling module. With progression of the genetic analyses of mice conditionally mutant for compound alleles of Eph receptor and ephrin ligand genes, additional essential functions are likely to arise in the urinary system.

Farshchian M, Nissinen L, Siljamäki E, et al.
EphB2 Promotes Progression of Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
J Invest Dermatol. 2015; 135(7):1882-92 [PubMed] Related Publications
Keratinocyte-derived skin cancer, cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC), is the most common metastatic skin cancer. We have examined the role of Eph/ephrin signaling in the progression of cSCC. Analysis of the expression of EPH and EFN families in cSCC cells and normal epidermal keratinocytes revealed overexpression of EPHB2 mRNA in cSCC cells and cSCC tumors in vivo. Tumor cell-specific overexpression of EphB2 was detected in human cSCCs and in chemically induced mouse cSCCs with immunohistochemistry, whereas the expression of EphB2 was low in premalignant lesions and normal skin. Knockdown of EphB2 expression in cSCC cells suppressed growth and vascularization of cSCC xenografts in vivo and inhibited proliferation, migration, and invasion of cSCC cells in culture. EphB2 knockdown downregulated expression of genes associated with biofunctions cell viability, migration of tumor cells, and invasion of tumor cells. Among the genes most downregulated by EphB2 knockdown were MMP1 and MMP13. Moreover, activation of EphB2 signaling by ephrin-B2-Fc enhanced production of invasion proteinases matrix metalloproteinase-13 (MMP13) and MMP1, and invasion of cSCC cells. These findings provide mechanistic evidence for the role of EphB2 in the early progression of cSCC to the invasive stage and identify EphB2 as a putative therapeutic target in this invasive skin cancer.

Lahtela J, Pradhan B, Närhi K, et al.
The putative tumor suppressor gene EphA3 fails to demonstrate a crucial role in murine lung tumorigenesis or morphogenesis.
Dis Model Mech. 2015; 8(4):393-401 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is based on histological analysis and molecular profiling of targetable driver oncogenes. Therapeutic responses are further defined by the landscape of passenger mutations, or loss of tumor suppressor genes. We report here a thorough study to address the physiological role of the putative lung cancer tumor suppressor EPH receptor A3 (EPHA3), a gene that is frequently mutated in human lung adenocarcinomas. Our data shows that homozygous or heterozygous loss of EphA3 does not alter the progression of murine adenocarcinomas that result from Kras mutation or loss of Trp53, and we detected negligible postnatal expression of EphA3 in adult wild-type lungs. Yet, EphA3 was expressed in the distal mesenchyme of developing mouse lungs, neighboring the epithelial expression of its Efna1 ligand; this is consistent with the known roles of EPH receptors in embryonic development. However, the partial loss of EphA3 leads only to subtle changes in epithelial Nkx2-1, endothelial Cd31 and mesenchymal Fgf10 RNA expression levels, and no macroscopic phenotypic effects on lung epithelial branching, mesenchymal cell proliferation, or abundance and localization of CD31-positive endothelia. The lack of a discernible lung phenotype in EphA3-null mice might indicate lack of an overt role for EPHA3 in the murine lung, or imply functional redundancy between EPHA receptors. Our study shows how biological complexity can challenge in vivo functional validation of mutations identified in sequencing efforts, and provides an incentive for the design of knock-in or conditional models to assign the role of EPHA3 mutation during lung tumorigenesis.

Yan Y, Wang Q, Yan XL, et al.
miR-10a controls glioma migration and invasion through regulating epithelial-mesenchymal transition via EphA8.
FEBS Lett. 2015; 589(6):756-65 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play a critical role in the development of cancers. However, the role of miRNAs in glioma is still poorly understood. In this study, we demonstrate that microRNA-10a (miR-10a) promotes cell migration and invasion by negatively regulating the expression of Eph tyrosine kinase receptor A8 (EphA8). Ectopic expression of EphA8 counteracts the promotion of migration and invasion induced by miR-10a. We further demonstrate that miR-10a and EphA8 regulate epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) to affect cell migration and invasion. Collectively, we unveil a branch of the miR-10a/EphA8 pathway that regulates the progression of glioma.

Li S, Zhu Y, Ma C, et al.
Downregulation of EphA5 by promoter methylation in human prostate cancer.
BMC Cancer. 2015; 15:18 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: EphA5 is a member of the Eph/ephrin family and plays a critical role in the regulation of carcinogenesis. A significant reduction of EphA5 transcripts in high-grade prostate cancer tissue was shown using a transcriptomic analysis, compared to the low-grade prostate cancer tissue. As less is known about the mechanism of EphA5 downregulation and the function of EphA5, here we investigated the expression and an epigenetic change of EphA5 in prostate cancer and determined if these findings were correlated with clinicopathologic characteristics of prostate cancer.
METHODS: Seven prostate cell lines (RWPE-1, LNCap, LNCap-LN3, CWR22rv-1, PC-3, PC-3M-LN4, and DU145), thirty-nine BPH, twenty-two primary prostate carcinomas, twenty-three paired noncancerous and cancerous prostate tissues were examined via qRT-PCR, methylation-specific PCR, bisulfite sequencing, immunohistochemistry and western blotting. The role of EphA5 in prostate cancer cell migration and invasion was examined by wound healing and transwell assay.
RESULTS: Downregulation or loss of EphA5 mRNA or protein expression was detected in 28 of 45 (62.2%) prostate carcinomas, 2 of 39 (5.1%) hyperplasias, and all 6 prostate cancer cell lines. Methylation of the EphA5 promoter region was present in 32 of 45 (71.1%) carcinoma samples, 3 of 39 (7.7%) hyperplasias, and the 6 prostate cancer cell lines. Among 23 paired prostate carcinoma tissues, 16 tumor samples exhibited the hypermethylation of EphA5, and 15 of these 16 specimens (93.8%) shown the downregulation of EphA5 expression than that of their respectively matched noncancerous samples. Immunostaining analysis demonstrated that the EphA5 protein was absent or down-regulated in 10 of 13 (76.9%) available carcinoma samples, and 8 of these 10 samples (80.0%) exhibited hypermethylation. The frequency of EphA5 methylation was higher in cancer patients with an elevated Gleason score or T3-T4 staging. Following the treatment of 6 prostate cancer cell lines with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine, the levels of EphA5 mRNA were significantly increased. Prostate cancer cells invasion and migration were significantly suppressed by ectopic expression of EphA5 in vitro.
CONCLUSION: Our study provides evidence that EphA5 is a potential target for epigenetic silencing in primary prostate cancer and is a potentially valuable prognosis predictor and thereapeutic marker for prostate cancer.

Lee KH, Ahn EJ, Oh SJ, et al.
KITENIN promotes glioma invasiveness and progression, associated with the induction of EMT and stemness markers.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(5):3240-53 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
KITENIN (KAI1 COOH-terminal interacting tetraspanin) promotes tumor invasion and metastasis in various cancers. This study assessed the association between KITENIN expression and advanced glioma grade in patients. In vitro assays revealed that KITENIN knockdown inhibited the invasion and migration of glioma cells, whereas KITENIN overexpression promoted their invasion and migration. In orthotopic mouse tumor models, mice transplanted with KITENIN-transfected glioma cells had significantly shorter survival than mice transplanted with mock-transfected cells. Patients with low KITENIN expression showed a significantly longer progression-free survival than patients with high KITENIN expression. KITENIN induced the expression of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) markers (N-cadherin, ZEB1, ZEB2, SNAIL and SLUG) as well as the glioma stemness markers (CD133, ALDH1 and EPH-B1). Taken together, these findings showed that high levels of KITENIN increased glioma invasiveness and progression, associated with the up-regulation of EMT and stemness markers.

Miao B, Ji Z, Tan L, et al.
EPHA2 is a mediator of vemurafenib resistance and a novel therapeutic target in melanoma.
Cancer Discov. 2015; 5(3):274-87 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
UNLABELLED: BRAF(V600E) is the most common oncogenic lesion in melanoma and results in constitutive activation of the MAPK pathway and uncontrolled cell growth. Selective BRAF inhibitors such as vemurafenib have been shown to neutralize oncogenic signaling, restrain cellular growth, and improve patient outcome. Although several mechanisms of vemurafenib resistance have been described, directed solutions to overcome these resistance lesions are still lacking. Herein, we found that vemurafenib resistance can be (i) mediated by EPHA2, a member of the largest receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK) subfamily erythropoietin-producing hepatocellular (EPH) receptors, and (ii) associated with a greater phenotypic dependence on EPHA2. Furthermore, we developed a series of first-in-class EPHA2 inhibitors and show that these new compounds potently induce apoptosis, suppress viability, and abrogate tumorigenic growth of melanoma cells, including those that are resistant to vemurafenib. These results provide proof of concept that RTK-guided growth, and therapeutic resistance, can be prospectively defined and selectively targeted.
SIGNIFICANCE: In this study, we show that resistance to selective BRAF inhibitors can be mediated by the RTK EPHA2. Furthermore, direct targeting of EPHA2 can successfully suppress melanoma growth and mitigate therapeutic resistance.

Al-Ejeh F, Offenhäuser C, Lim YC, et al.
Eph family co-expression patterns define unique clusters predictive of cancer phenotype.
Growth Factors. 2014; 32(6):254-64 [PubMed] Related Publications
The Eph genes are the largest sub-family of receptor tyrosine kinases; however, it is most likely the least understood and the arena for many conflicting reports. In this tribute to Prof. Martin Lackmann and Prof. Tony Pawson, we utilized The Cancer Genome Atlas resources to shed new light on the understanding of this family. We found that mutation and expression analysis define two clusters of co-expressed Eph family genes that relate to aggressive phenotypes across multiple cancer types. Analysis of signal transduction pathways using reverse-phase protein arrays revealed a network of interactions, which associates cluster-specific Eph genes with epithelial-mesenchymal transition, metabolism, DNA-damage repair and apoptosis. Our findings support the role of the Eph family in modulating cancer progression and reveal distinct patterns of Eph expression, which correlate with disease outcome. These observations provide further rationale for seeking cancer therapies, which target the Eph/ephrin system.

Ćwiek P, Leni Z, Salm F, et al.
RNA interference screening identifies a novel role for PCTK1/CDK16 in medulloblastoma with c-Myc amplification.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(1):116-29 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant brain tumor in children and is associated with a poor outcome. cMYC amplification characterizes a subgroup of MB with very poor prognosis. However, there exist so far no targeted therapies for the subgroup of MB with cMYC amplification. Here we used kinome-wide RNA interference screening to identify novel kinases that may be targeted to inhibit the proliferation of c-Myc-overexpressing MB. The RNAi screen identified a set of 5 genes that could be targeted to selectively impair the proliferation of c-Myc-overexpressing MB cell lines: AKAP12 (A-kinase anchor protein), CSNK1α1 (casein kinase 1, alpha 1), EPHA7 (EPH receptor A7) and PCTK1 (PCTAIRE protein kinase 1). When using RNAi and a pharmacological inhibitor selective for PCTK1, we could show that this kinase plays a crucial role in the proliferation of MB cell lines and the activation of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway. In addition, pharmacological PCTK1 inhibition reduced the expression levels of c-Myc. Finally, targeting PCTK1 selectively impaired the tumor growth of c-Myc-overexpressing MB cells in vivo. Together our data uncover a novel and crucial role for PCTK1 in the proliferation and survival of MB characterized by cMYC amplification.

Avan A, Adema AD, Hoebe EK, et al.
Modulation of signaling enhances the efficacy of the combination of satraplatin and erlotinib.
Curr Drug Targets. 2014; 15(14):1312-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: The active metabolite (JM118) of the oral platinum analog satraplatin (JM216) was investigated for potential synergism with erlotinib, an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor. JM118 sensitivity of 7 cancer cell lines (ovarian: 2008, A2780; colon: Lovo92, WiDr; lung: A549, SW1573; epidermoid: A431), was enhanced most pronounced when JM118 preceded erlotinib, which was associated with increased formation of DNA-platinum adducts. The combination increased G2/M phase accumulation and enhanced apoptosis. JM118 increased the phosphorylation of the cell cycle proteins CDK2 and CHK1 after 24 hr exposure. JM118/erlotinib enhanced Erk and Akt phosphorylation after 2 hr. JM118 significantly decreased the phosphorylation of PTEN, VEGFR, EPHA1, ERBB4, FGF-R, andSTAT3 by 20 (PTEN) to >90% (STAT3).
CONCLUSION: Erlotinib enhanced the effects of JM118, even in cells with mutations in Ras. The mechanism of synergy involved a combination of effects on platinum-DNA adduct formation, cell cycle distribution and signaling.

McKinney N, Yuan L, Zhang H, et al.
EphrinB1 expression is dysregulated and promotes oncogenic signaling in medulloblastoma.
J Neurooncol. 2015; 121(1):109-18 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Eph receptors and ephrin ligands are master regulators of oncogenic signaling required for proliferation, migration, and metastasis. Yet, Eph/ephrin expression and activity in medulloblastoma (MB), the most common malignant brain tumor of childhood, remains poorly defined. We hypothesized that Eph/ephrins are differentially expressed by sonic hedgehog (SHH) and non-SHH MB and that specific members contribute to the aggressive phenotype. Affymetrix gene expression profiling of 29 childhood MB, separated into SHH (N = 11) and non-SHH (N = 18), was performed followed by protein validation of selected Eph/ephrins in another 60 MB and two MB cell lines (DAOY, D556). Functional assays were performed using MB cells overexpressing or deleted for selected ephrins. We found EPHB4 and EFNA4 almost exclusively expressed by SHH MB, whereas EPHA2, EPHA8, EFNA1 and EFNA3 are predominantly expressed by non-SHH MB. The remaining family members, except EFNB1, are ubiquitously expressed by over 70-90 % MB, irrespective of subgroup. EFNB1 is the only member differentially expressed by 28 % of SHH and non-SHH MB. Corresponding protein expression for EphB/ephrinB1 and B2 was validated in MB. Only ephrinB2 was also detected in fetal cerebellum, indicating that EphB/ephrinB1 expression is MB-specific. EphrinB1 immunopositivity localizes to tumor cells within MB with the highest proliferative index. EphrinB1 overexpression promotes EphB activation, alters F-actin distribution and morphology, decreases adhesion, and significantly promotes proliferation. Either silencing or overexpression of ephrinB1 impairs migration. These results indicate that EphrinB1 is uniquely dysregulated in MB and promotes oncogenic responses in MB cells, implicating ephrinB1 as a potential target.

Vail ME, Murone C, Tan A, et al.
Targeting EphA3 inhibits cancer growth by disrupting the tumor stromal microenvironment.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(16):4470-81 [PubMed] Related Publications
Eph receptor tyrosine kinases are critical for cell-cell communication during normal and oncogenic tissue patterning and tumor growth. Somatic mutation profiles of several cancer genomes suggest EphA3 as a tumor suppressor, but its oncogenic expression pattern and role in tumorigenesis remain largely undefined. Here, we report unexpected EphA3 overexpression within the microenvironment of a range of human cancers and mouse tumor xenografts where its activation inhibits tumor growth. EphA3 is found on mouse bone marrow-derived cells with mesenchymal and myeloid phenotypes, and activation of EphA3(+)/CD90(+)/Sca1(+) mesenchymal/stromal cells with an EphA3 agonist leads to cell contraction, cell-cell segregation, and apoptosis. Treatment of mice with an agonistic α-EphA3 antibody inhibits tumor growth by severely disrupting the integrity and function of newly formed tumor stroma and microvasculature. Our data define EphA3 as a novel target for selective ablation of the tumor microenvironment and demonstrate the potential of EphA3 agonists for anticancer therapy.

Toma MI, Erdmann K, Diezel M, et al.
Lack of ephrin receptor A1 is a favorable independent prognostic factor in clear cell renal cell carcinoma.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(7):e102262 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The EPH receptor tyrosine kinases and their cell-bound ligands, the ephrins, have been shown to be associated with cancer development and progression. In this study, mRNA and protein expression of the receptors EPHA1 and EPHA2 as well as of their ligand EFNA1 and their prognostic relevance in clear cell renal cell carcinoma was evaluated. Gene expression was measured in 75 cryo-preserved primary tumors and matched non-malignant renal specimens by quantitative PCR. Protein expression was analyzed by immunohistochemistry on tissue microarrays comprising non-malignant, primary tumors and metastatic renal tissues of 241 patients. Gene and protein expression of all three factors was altered in tumor specimens with EPHA1 and EPHA2 being generally diminished in tumors compared to normal renal tissue, whereas EFNA1 was commonly elevated. A positive EPHA1 and EPHA2 protein staining as well as a low EFNA1 protein level were significantly linked to more aggressive tumor features, but only a positive EPHA1 immunoreactivity was significantly associated with poor survival. In subgroup analyses, EPHA1 and EPHA2 protein levels were significantly higher in metastatic than in primary lesions. Patients with EPHA1/EPHA2-positive tumors or with tumors with positive EPHA1 and low EFNA1 immunoreactivity had the shortest survival rates compared to the respective other combinations. In a multivariate model, EPHA1 was an independent prognostic marker for different survival endpoints. In conclusion, an impaired EPH-ephrin signaling could contribute to the pathogenesis and progression of clear cell renal cell carcinoma.

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