Ephrin-Eph signaling in embryonic tissue separation

Fagotto F, Winklbauer R, Rohani N

Cell Adh Migr 2014;8(4):308-26

PMID: 25482630


The physical separation of the embryonic regions that give rise to the tissues and organs of multicellular organisms is a fundamental aspect of morphogenesis. Pioneer experiments by Holtfreter had shown that embryonic cells can sort based on “tissue affinities,” which have long been considered to rely on differences in cell-cell adhesion. However, vertebrate embryonic tissues also express a variety of cell surface cues, in particular ephrins and Eph receptors, and there is now firm evidence that these molecules are systematically used to induce local repulsion at contacts between different cell types, efficiently preventing mixing of adjacent cell populations.