Distribution of EphB receptors and ephrin-B1 in the developing vertebrate spinal cord

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Contact-dependent interactions between EphB receptors and ephrin-B ligands mediate a variety of cell-cell communication events in the developing and mature central nervous system (CNS). These predominantly repulsive interactions occur at the interface between what are considered to be mutually exclusive EphB and ephrin-B expression domains. We previously used receptor and ligand affinity probes to show that ephrin-B ligands are expressed in the floor plate and within a dorsal region of the embryonic mouse spinal cord, while EphB receptors are present on decussated segments of commissural axons that navigate between these ephrin-B domains. Here we present the generation and characterization of two new monoclonal antibodies, mAb EfB1-3, which recognizes EphB1, EphB2, and EphB3, and mAb efrnB1, which is specific for ephrin-B1. We use these reagents and polyclonal antibodies specific for EphB1, EphB2, EphB3, or ephrin-B1 to describe the spatiotemporal expression patterns of EphB receptors and ephrin-B1 in the vertebrate spinal cord. Consistent with affinity probe binding, we show that EphB1, EphB2, and EphB3 are each preferentially expressed on decussated segments of commissural axons in vivo and in vitro, and that ephrin-B1 is expressed in a dorsal domain of the spinal cord that includes the roof plate. In contrast to affinity probe binding profiles, we show here that EphB1, EphB2, and EphB3 are present on the ventral commissure, and that EphB1 and EphB3 are expressed on axons that compose the dorsal funiculus. In addition, we unexpectedly find that mesenchymal cells, which surround the spinal cord and dorsal root ganglion, express ephrin-B1. J. Comp. Neurol. 497:734-750, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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