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J Biol Chem. 2010 Mar 12;285(11):8207-17. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M109.091041. Epub 2010 Jan 11.

Mutual regulation of Src family kinases and the neurotrophin receptor TrkB.

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  • 1Department of Neurobiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


The neurotrophin receptor tyrosine kinase TrkB is critical to diverse biological processes. We investigated the interplay of Src family kinases (SFKs) and TrkB to better understand mechanisms of TrkB signaling in physiological and pathological conditions. We compared and contrasted the role of SFKs in TrkB signaling following activation of TrkB by two mechanisms, its transactivation by zinc, and its activation by its prototypic neurotrophin ligand, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Using biochemical, pharmacological, and chemical genetic studies of cultured rodent neurons, we found that zinc promotes preferential phosphorylation of Tyr-705/Tyr-706 of TrkB by a SFK-dependent but TrkB kinase-independent mechanism, a signaling event critical for transactivation of TrkB by zinc. By contrast, SFK activity is not essential for BDNF-mediated activation of TrkB, yet SFK activity is increased as a consequence of TrkB activation by BDNF. Moreover, BDNF-induced phosphorylation of Tyr-705/Tyr-706 of TrkB was inhibited by SFK inhibitors, implicating a regulatory role of SFKs in TrkB activation by BDNF. In sum, SFKs are activated by TrkB and, in turn, SFKs can promote TrkB activation. We propose models depicting the mutual regulation of SFKs and TrkB following activation of TrkB by zinc and BDNF.

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