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Sci. Signal., 15 April 2008
Vol. 1, Issue 15, p. re2
[DOI: 10.1126/stke.115re2]


Eph, a Protein Family Coming of Age: More Confusion, Insight, or Complexity?

Martin Lackmann1* and Andrew W. Boyd2

1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia.
2Leukaemia Foundation Laboratory, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Post Office Royal Brisbane Hospital, 4029, Australia.

Abstract: Since the mid-1980s, Eph receptors have evolved from being regarded as orphan receptors with unknown functions and ligands to becoming one of the most complex "global positioning systems" that regulates cell traffic in multicellular organisms. During this time, there has been an exponentially growing interest in Ephs and ephrin ligands, coinciding with important advances in the way biological function is interrogated through mapping of genomes and manipulation of genes. As a result, many of the original concepts that used to define Eph signaling and function went overboard. Clearly, the need for progress in understanding Eph-ephrin biology and the underlying molecular principles involved has been compelling. Many cell-positioning programs during normal and oncogenic development—in particular, the patterning of skeletal, vascular, and nervous systems—are modulated in some way by Eph-ephrin function. Undeniably, the complexity of the underlying signaling networks is considerable, and it seems probable that systems biology approaches are required to further improve our understanding of Eph function.

*Corresponding author. E-mail, martin.lackmann{at}

Citation: M. Lackmann, A. W. Boyd, Eph, a Protein Family Coming of Age: More Confusion, Insight, or Complexity? Sci. Signal. 1, re2 (2008).

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