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Gene Review

bdnf-a  -  brain-derived neurotrophic factor

Xenopus laevis

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Disease relevance of bdnf-A


High impact information on bdnf-A

  • Synaptic potentiation induced by brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), but not neurotrophin 3, was prevented by blockers of adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cAMP) signaling [2].
  • Increasing BDNF levels significantly increased both axon arborization and synapse number, with BDNF increasing synapse number per axon terminal [3].
  • Brief depolarization in the presence of low-level BDNF results in a marked potentiation of both evoked and spontaneous synaptic transmission, whereas exposure to either BDNF or depolarization alone is without effect [4].
  • BDNF treatment rescued synapses affected by NMDA receptor blockade: BDNF maintained GFP-synaptobrevin cluster density by maintaining their addition rate and rapidly inducing their stabilization [5].
  • To obtain a second measure of the role of BDNF during synapse stabilization, we injected recombinant BDNF in tadpoles with altered glutamate receptor transmission in the optic tectum [5].

Biological context of bdnf-A

  • Consistent with previous reports, the predicted amino acid sequences obtained in this manner from monkey and rat were identical to other mammalian BDNF sequences [6].
  • The chicken and Xenopus BDNF sequences are also highly conserved, but contain 7 and 8 amino acid substitutions, respectively, compared to mammalian BDNF [6].
  • Taken together, our results suggest the presence of cross-talk between Ca2+- and cAMP-signaling pathways involved in the collapsing action of neurotrophins, in which the cAMP-pathway regulates the Ca2+-mediated signal transduction required for BDNF-induced collapse [7].
  • TrkB activation by brain-derived neurotrophic factor inhibits the G protein-gated inward rectifier Kir3 by tyrosine phosphorylation of the channel [8].

Anatomical context of bdnf-A


Associations of bdnf-A with chemical compounds

  • The BDNF effect required specific tyrosine residues in the amino terminus of Kir3.1 and Kir3.4 channels [8].
  • 4 channels to phenylalanine significantly blocked the BDNF-induced inhibition [8].
  • The general tyrosine kinase inhibitors genistein, Gö 6976, and K252a but not the serine/threonine kinase inhibitor staurosporine blocked the BDNF-induced inhibition of the channel [8].
  • Superfusion and (3)H-amino acid incorporation studies demonstrated that BDNF stimulates the release of alpha-MSH and the biosynthesis of its precursor protein, POMC [12].
  • Double gold-immunolabelling revealed that BDNF coexists in these granules with mesotocin [13].

Other interactions of bdnf-A


Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of bdnf-A

  • We studied the subcellular distribution of BDNF in Xenopus melanotropes using a combination of high-pressure freezing, cryosubstitution and immunoelectron microscopy [9].
  • We have used the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify and clone coding sequences of the mature region of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) from monkey, rat, chicken and Xenopus genomic DNA [6].
  • Fluorescent in situ hybridization studies showed a precise co-expression of BDNF and its receptor trkB in the retinal neuroepithelium and actively differentiating RPE; in vitro studies demonstrated survival- and differentiation-promoting effects in serum-free explants and dissociated cultures [11].
  • Real-time quantitative RT-PCR showed that levels of BDNF mRNA in melanotrope cells are about 25 times higher in black- than in white-adapted animals [12].
  • Using Western blotting and immunocytochemistry at the light and electron microscopical level, we have detected both the BDNF precursor and the mature BDNF protein in Xenopus melanotrope cells [12].


  1. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor differentially regulates retinal ganglion cell dendritic and axonal arborization in vivo. Lom, B., Cohen-Cory, S. J. Neurosci. (1999) [Pubmed]
  2. Gating of BDNF-induced synaptic potentiation by cAMP. Boulanger, L., Poo, M. Science (1999) [Pubmed]
  3. Visualizing synapse formation in arborizing optic axons in vivo: dynamics and modulation by BDNF. Alsina, B., Vu, T., Cohen-Cory, S. Nat. Neurosci. (2001) [Pubmed]
  4. Presynaptic depolarization facilitates neurotrophin-induced synaptic potentiation. Boulanger, L., Poo, M.M. Nat. Neurosci. (1999) [Pubmed]
  5. BDNF stabilizes synapses and maintains the structural complexity of optic axons in vivo. Hu, B., Nikolakopoulou, A.M., Cohen-Cory, S. Development (2005) [Pubmed]
  6. Comparison of mammalian, chicken and Xenopus brain-derived neurotrophic factor coding sequences. Isackson, P.J., Towner, M.D., Huntsman, M.M. FEBS Lett. (1991) [Pubmed]
  7. cAMP-mediated regulation of neurotrophin-induced collapse of nerve growth cones. Wang, Q., Zheng, J.Q. J. Neurosci. (1998) [Pubmed]
  8. TrkB activation by brain-derived neurotrophic factor inhibits the G protein-gated inward rectifier Kir3 by tyrosine phosphorylation of the channel. Rogalski, S.L., Appleyard, S.M., Pattillo, A., Terman, G.W., Chavkin, C. J. Biol. Chem. (2000) [Pubmed]
  9. Activity-dependent dynamics of coexisting brain-derived neurotrophic factor, pro-opiomelanocortin and alpha-melanophore-stimulating hormone in melanotrope cells of Xenopus laevis. Wang, L.C., Meijer, H.K., Humbel, B.M., Jenks, B.G., Roubos, E.W. J. Neuroendocrinol. (2004) [Pubmed]
  10. Acute morphogenic and chemotropic effects of neurotrophins on cultured embryonic Xenopus spinal neurons. Ming, G., Lohof, A.M., Zheng, J.Q. J. Neurosci. (1997) [Pubmed]
  11. Critical role of TrkB and brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the differentiation and survival of retinal pigment epithelium. Liu, Z.Z., Zhu, L.Q., Eide, F.F. J. Neurosci. (1997) [Pubmed]
  12. Evidence that brain-derived neurotrophic factor acts as an autocrine factor on pituitary melanotrope cells of Xenopus laevis. Kramer, B.M., Cruijsen, P.M., Ouwens, D.T., Coolen, M.W., Martens, G.J., Roubos, E.W., Jenks, B.G. Endocrinology (2002) [Pubmed]
  13. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the brain of Xenopus laevis may act as a pituitary neurohormone together with mesotocin. Calle, M., Wang, L., Kuijpers, F.J., Cruijsen, P.M., Arckens, L., Roubos, E.W. J. Neuroendocrinol. (2006) [Pubmed]
  14. Regulation of acetylcholine release by extracellular matrix proteins at developing motoneurons in Xenopus cell cultures. Fu, W.M., Shih, Y.C., Chen, S.Y., Tsai, P.H. J. Neurosci. Res. (2001) [Pubmed]
  15. Requirement of TRPC channels in netrin-1-induced chemotropic turning of nerve growth cones. Wang, G.X., Poo, M.M. Nature (2005) [Pubmed]
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