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J Neurosci. 2005 Jun 29;25(26):6156-66.

Sortilin controls intracellular sorting of brain-derived neurotrophic factor to the regulated secretory pathway.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Department of Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, New York 10021, USA.


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), after activity-dependent secretion from neurons, modulates critical nervous system functions. Recently, a variant in the human bdnf gene, resulting in a valine to methionine substitution in the prodomain, has been shown to lead to defective regulated secretion from neurons and memory impairment. Here, we report a novel function for a Vps10p domain protein, sortilin, in controlling BDNF sorting to the regulated secretory pathway. Sortilin interacts specifically with BDNF in a region encompassing the methionine substitution and colocalizes with BDNF in secretory granules in neurons. A truncated form of sortilin causes BDNF missorting to the constitutive secretory pathway without affecting neurotrophin-4 (NT-4) secretion. In addition, sortilin small interfering RNA introduced into primary neurons also led to BDNF missorting from the regulated to the constitutive secretory pathway. Together, these data suggest a mechanism to understand the defect associated with variant BDNF and provide a framework, based on divergent presynaptic regulation of sorting to secretory pathways, to explain how two ligands for tropomyosin-related kinase B, BDNF and NT-4, can mediate diverse biological responses.

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