Gerety SS, Wang HU, Chen ZF, and Anderson DJ. (1999) Symmetrical mutant phenotype of the receptor EphB4 and its specific transmembrane ligand ephrin-B2 in cardiovascular development. Mol. Cell 4(3): 403-414. PMID: 10518221
Ephrin-B2 is a transmembrane ligand that is specifically expressed on arteries but not veins and that is essential for cardiovascular development. However, ephrin-B2 is also expressed in nonvascular tissues and interacts with multiple EphB class receptors expressed in both endothelial and nonendothelial cell types. Thus, the identity of the relevant receptor for ephrin-B2 and the site(s) where these molecules interact to control angiogenesis were not clear. Here we show that EphB4, a specific receptor for ephrin-B2, is exclusively expressed by vascular endothelial cells in embryos and is preferentially expressed on veins. A targeted mutation in EphB4 essentially phenocopies the mutation in ephrin-B2. These data indicate that ephrin-B2-EphB4 interactions are intrinsically required in vascular endothelial cells and are consistent with the idea that they mediate bidirectional signaling essential for angiogenesis.