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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Differential gene expression of Eph receptors and ephrins in benign human tissues and cancers.

BACKGROUND: Eph receptors and their ligands, the ephrins, represent a large class of cell-cell communication molecules with well-defined developmental functions. Their role in healthy adult tissues and in human disease is still largely unknown, although diverse roles in carcinogenesis have been postulated. METHODS: We established a set of fluorescent PCR probes and primers for the definition of individual gene expression profiles of 12 different Eph receptors and 8 ephrins in 13 different healthy tissues. The mRNA expression profiles were studied in human lung, colorectal, kidney, liver, and brain cancers. RESULTS: The family of Eph receptors/ephrins was widely expressed in adult tissues with organ-site-specific patterns: EphB6 was highest in the thymus, compatible with an involvement in T-cell maturation. Brain and testis shared a unique pattern with EphA6, EphA8, and EphB1 being the most prominent. EphA7 had a high abundance in the kidney vasculature. Ephrin-A3 was up-regulated 26-fold in lung cancer, and EphB2 was up-regulated 9-fold in hepatocellular carcinoma. EphA8 was down-regulated in colon cancer, and EphA1/EphA8 was down-regulated in glioblastomas. CONCLUSION: Eph/Ephrin genes are widely expressed in all adult organs with certain organ-site-specific patterns. Because their function in adult tissues remains unknown, further analysis of their role in disease may disclose new insights beyond their well-defined meaning in development.[1]


  1. Differential gene expression of Eph receptors and ephrins in benign human tissues and cancers. Hafner, C., Schmitz, G., Meyer, S., Bataille, F., Hau, P., Langmann, T., Dietmaier, W., Landthaler, M., Vogt, T. Clin. Chem. (2004) [Pubmed]
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