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Neuron. 1997 Nov;19(5):1031-47.

CREB: a major mediator of neuronal neurotrophin responses.

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Department of Neurology, Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Neurotrophins regulate neuronal survival, differentiation, and synaptic function. To understand how neurotrophins elicit such diverse responses, we elucidated signaling pathways by which brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) activates gene expression in cultured neurons and hippocampal slices. We found, unexpectedly, that the transcription factor cyclic AMP response element-binding protein (CREB) is an important regulator of BDNF-induced gene expression. Exposure of neurons to BDNF stimulates CREB phosphorylation and activation via at least two signaling pathways: by a calcium/calmodulin-dependent kinase IV (CaMKIV)-regulated pathway that is activated by the release of intracellular calcium and by a Ras-dependent pathway. These findings reveal a previously unrecognized, CaMK-dependent mechanism by which neurotrophins activate CREB and suggest that CREB plays a central role in mediating neurotrophin responses in neurons.

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