Bone marrow mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (BMSC) are fundamental regulatory elements of the hematopoietic stem cell niche; however, the molecular signals that mediate BMSC support of hematopoiesis are poorly understood. Recent studies indicate that BMSC and hematopoietic stem/progenitors cells differentially express the Eph cell surface tyrosine kinase receptors, and their ephrin ligands. Eph/ephrin interactions are thought to mediate cross-talk between BMSC and different hematopoietic cell populations to influence cell development, migration and function. This review summarizes Eph/ephrin interactions in the regulation of BMSC communication with hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells and discusses Eph/ephrin-targeted therapeutic strategies that are currently being pursued for various hematotological malignancies.
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