Evidence is accumulating that Eph receptor tyrosine kinases and their ligands regulate cell migration and axonal guidance during development. It was previously found that one of the Eph receptors, EphA4, is transiently expressed in subsets of chick embryonic motor neurons. Here, the expression of EphA and ephrin- A subfamily members was further examined, and the dynamic patterns of expression in chick embryonic motor neurons found. EphA3, EphA4, ephrin-A2, and ephrin-A5 were also expressed in the connective tissues of limb muscles and EphA3 and EphA4 expressing motor neurons innervated EphA3 and EphA4 expressing limb muscles, respectively. These spatiotemporal expression patterns suggest that EphA and ephrin-A proteins play important roles in muscle patterning and motor axonal guidance.
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