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The Eph family of receptor tyrosine kinases is crucial for assembly and maintenance of healthy tissues. Dysfunction in Eph signaling is causally associated with cancer progression. In breast cancer cells, dysregulated Eph signaling has been linked to alterations in receptor clustering abilities. Here, we implemented a single-cell assay and a scoring scheme to systematically probe the spatial organization of activated EphA receptors in multiple carcinoma cells. We show that cancer cells retain EphA clustering phenotype over several generations, and the degree of clustering reported for migration potential both at population and single-cell levels. Finally, using patient-derived cancer lines, we probed the evolution of EphA signalling in cell populations that underwent metastatic transformation and acquisition of drug resistance. Taken together, our scalable approach provides a reliable scoring scheme for EphA clustering that is consistent over multiple carcinomas and can assay heterogeneity of cancer cell populations in a cost- and time-effective manner.


Andrea Ravasio, Myint Z Myaing, Shumei Chia, Aditya Arora, Aneesh Sathe, Elaine Yiqun Cao, Cristina Bertocchi, Ankur Sharma, Bakya Arasi, Vin Yee Chung, Adrienne C Greene, Tuan Zea Tan, Zhongwen Chen, Hui Ting Ong, N Gopalakrishna Iyer, Ruby YunJu Huang, Ramanuj DasGupta, Jay T Groves, Virgile Viasnoff. Single-cell analysis of EphA clustering phenotypes to probe cancer cell heterogeneity. Communications biology. 2020 Aug 06;3(1):429

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PMID: 32764731

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