Glycosylphosphatidylinositol-linked ephrin-As play important roles in various biological events, such as neuronal development and immune responses. Because the surface amount of ephrin-As is critical in these events, the trafficking of ephrin-As must be regulated by intracellular machinery. In particular, Src family protein-tyrosine kinases regulate the intracellular trafficking of several membrane molecules and act downstream of ephrin-As; whether they affect the trafficking of ephrin-As, however, has remained unexplored. Here, we report that the activity of Src family protein-tyrosine kinases, particularly Fyn, negatively regulates the cell-surface amount of ephrin-As. The expression of constitutively active Fyn decreases the surface amount of ephrin-As. Conversely, the expression of dominant-negative Fyn or the application of a Src-family inhibitor increases the surface amount of ephrin-A2. The total cellular amount of ephrin-A is inversely correlated with its amount on the surface, suggesting that ephrin-As are more stable in the intracellular compartment. The expression of constitutively active Fyn increases the amount of sphingomyelin clusters on the plasma membrane, whereas inhibiting Fyn decreases it. Moreover, the inhibition of sphingomyelin synthesis greatly increases the surface amount of ephrin-As. Altogether, these results suggest that Fyn regulates the surface amount of ephrin-As by modulating the metabolism of sphingomyelin, which presumably inhibits the trafficking of ephrin-As from endosomes to the plasma membrane. The signaling cascade described here may function as part of the negative feedback loop of ephrin-A function
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