Expression and binding characteristics of the BDNF receptor chick trkB.
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Previous studies using transfected cells have indicated that the mammalian receptor tyrosine kinase trkB binds the neurotrophins brain-derived neurotrophic factor, neurotrophin-3 and neurotrophin-4. However, most studies demonstrating that these neurotrophins prevent the death of embryonic neurons and have specific neuronal receptors have been performed with chick neurons. In order to explore the possibility that trkB is the molecular entity representing the high-affinity receptor for brain-derived neurotrophic factor on embryonic chick neurons, we cloned and expressed a chick trkB cDNA. In situ hybridisation results indicate that the distribution of trkB mRNA in the peripheral nervous system of the developing chick embryo correlates well with the structures known to respond to brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Binding studies performed with a cell line stably transfected with the ctrkB cDNA indicate a dissociation constant for brain-derived neurotrophic factor of 9.9 x 10(-10) M, which is distinctly higher than that found on primary chick sensory neurons (1.5 x 10(-11) M). When binding of brain-derived neurotrophic factor was determined in the presence of other neurotrophins, neurotrophin-3 was found efficiently to prevent the binding of brain-derived neurotrophic factor to both the ctrkB cell line and embryonic sensory neurons. In vitro, neurotrophin-3 at high concentrations completely blocked the survival normally seen with brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Thus, unlike previous cases of receptor occupancy by heterologous neurotrophins (which resulted in agonistic effects), the interaction between the brain-derived neurotrophic factor receptor and neurotrophin-3 on sensory neurons is antagonistic.
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