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J Neurosci Res. 1998 Sep 1;53(5):559-68.

Potentiating interactions between morphogenetic protein and neurotrophic factors in developing neurons.

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Department of Neuroscience, Uppsala University, Biomedical Center, Sweden.


mRNA for bone morphogenetic protein receptor type II (BMPR-II) was mapped to different neurons in peripheral ganglia and spinal cord of the chicken embryo. The expression of this serine/threonine kinase receptor partially overlaps with that of tyrosine kinase receptors Trk and Ret. Biological activities of osteogenic protein-1 (OP-1), a documented ligand for BMPR-II, were tested in explanted embryonic chicken ganglia and dissociated ganglionic neurons. OP-1 had only a limited stimulatory effect on neuronal survival. However, OP-1 combined with either neurotrophin-3 (NT-3, a relative of nerve growth factor) or glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) potentiated neuronal survival three- to fourfold. We also show that OP-1 strongly potentiates nerve fiber outgrowth from ganglia stimulated with NT-3 or GDNF. Signaling by BMPR-II in neurons may potentiate the tyrosine kinase pathway activated by NT-3 and GDNF. The data suggest that morphogenetic proteins may modulate neurotrophic activities during neuronal development and plasticity.

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