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J Biol Chem. 1999 Jan 1;274(1):257-63.

Caveolin interacts with Trk A and p75(NTR) and regulates neurotrophin signaling pathways.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66045, USA.


Neurotrophins signal through Trk tyrosine kinase receptors and the low-affinity neurotrophin receptor p75(NTR). We have shown previously that activation of Trk A tyrosine kinase activity can inhibit p75(NTR)-dependent sphingomyelin hydrolysis, that caveolae are a localized site for p75(NTR) signaling, and that caveolin can directly interact with p75(NTR). The ability of caveolin to also interact with tyrosine kinase receptors and inhibit their activity led us to hypothesize that caveolin expression may modulate interactions between neurotrophin signaling pathways. PC12 cells were transfected with caveolin that was expressed efficiently and targeted to the appropriate membrane domains. Upon exposure to nerve growth factor (NGF), caveolin-PC12 cells were unable to develop extensive neuritic processes. Caveolin expression in PC12 cells was found to diminish the magnitude and duration of Trk A activation in vivo. This inhibition may be due to a direct interaction of caveolin with Trk A, because Trk A co-immunoprecipitated with caveolin from Cav-Trk A-PC12 cells, and a glutathione S-transferase-caveolin fusion protein bound to Trk A and inhibited NGF-induced autophosphorylation in vitro. Furthermore, the in vivo kinetics of the inhibition of Trk A tyrosine kinase activity by caveolin expression correlated with an increased ability of NGF to induce sphingomyelin hydrolysis through p75(NTR). In summary, our results suggest that the interaction of caveolin with neurotrophin receptors may have functional consequences in regulating signaling through p75(NTR) and Trk A in neuronal and glial cell populations.

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