Send to

Choose Destination
J Cell Sci. 2013 Oct 1;126(Pt 19):4445-56. doi: 10.1242/jcs.129916. Epub 2013 Jul 25.

Ligand signature in the membrane dynamics of single TrkA receptor molecules.

Author information

NEST, Scuola Normale Superiore and Istituto Nanoscienze - CNR, Piazza San Silvestro 12, I-56126 Pisa, Italy.


The neurotrophin receptor TrkA (also known as NTRK1) is known to be crucially involved in several physio-pathological processes. However, a clear description of the early steps of ligand-induced TrkA responses at the cell plasma membrane is missing. We have exploited single particle tracking and TIRF microscopy to study TrkA membrane lateral mobility and changes of oligomerization state upon binding of diverse TrkA agonists (NGF, NGF R100E HSANV mutant, proNGF and NT-3). We show that, in the absence of ligands, most of the TrkA receptors are fast moving monomers characterized by an average diffusion coefficient of 0.47 µm(2)/second; about 20% of TrkA molecules move at least an order of magnitude slower and around 4% are almost immobile within regions of about 0.6 µm diameter. Ligand binding results in increased slow and/or immobile populations over the fast one, slowing down of non-immobile trajectories and reduction of confinement areas, observations that are consistent with the formation of receptor dimeric and oligomeric states. We demonstrate that the extent of TrkA lateral mobility modification is strictly ligand dependent and that each ligand promotes distinct trajectory patterns of TrkA receptors at the cell membrane (ligand 'fingerprinting' effect). This ligand signature of receptor dynamics results from a differential combination of receptor-binding affinity, intracellular effectors recruited in the signalling platforms and formation of signalling and/or recycling endosome precursors. Thus, our data uncover a close correlation between the initial receptor membrane dynamics triggered upon binding and the specific biological outcomes induced by different ligands for the same receptor.


Lateral diffusion; NGF; Single molecule; TrkA; proNGF

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center