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Neuron. 2003 Aug 28;39(5):735-8.

Pro-region of neurotrophins: role in synaptic modulation.

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Section on Neural Development and Plasticity, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Neurotrophins are synthesized first as precursors, followed by maturation through proteolytic removal of the "pro" region. Since pro- and mature neurotrophins elicit opposite functional effects by differential interactions with Trks and p75 receptors, extracellular cleavage represents a new way to control the synaptic functions of neurotrophins. A single nucleotide mutation in the pro-region appears to affect synaptic targeting and activity-dependent secretion of BDNF in hippocampal neurons. These results demonstrate new mechanisms by which neurotrophins regulate synaptic plasticity and memory function.

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