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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Differential effects of TrkC isoforms on sensory axon outgrowth.

Neurotrophins are powerful regulators of neuronal morphology. Several lines of evidence are consistent with the idea that characteristic axonal and dendritic morphologies throughout the nervous system may be determined by local patterns of neurotrophin and neurotrophin receptor expression. Neurotrophin receptor tryosine kinases (Trks) exist in both tyrosine-containing (TK+) and tyrosine-lacking (TK-) isoforms, both of which are expressed in many neuronal populations. However, ratios of TK+ to TK- isoforms may vary at different stages of development and may be differentially distributed to cellular compartments. To test whether these isoforms have different functions related to axon outgrowth, full-length or tyrosine kinase-lacking TrkC receptors were overexpressed in embryonic dorsal root ganglion neurons maintained in explant cultures in neurotrophin-3 (NT-3)-containing media. Neurons were transfected with plasmid DNA encoding enhanced yellow fluorescent protein (EYFP) and TrkC receptor isoforms by particle-mediated gene transfer. Control neurons possessed 3.7 +/- 1.3 primary processes and 113.8 +/- 46 branch points. About 80% of the branches were located along the distal part of the axon. Transfection with the trkC TK+ increased the number of primary processes (6.5 +/- 2.8), whereas transfection with trkC TK- reduced the formation of primary processes (3.0 +/- 1.3). Surprisingly, the distribution of branch points was shifted to the proximal region of axons in neurons transfected with trkC TK-. These observations are consistent with the idea that differential expression of Trk isoforms during development may sculpt axonal morphology.[1]


  1. Differential effects of TrkC isoforms on sensory axon outgrowth. Ichinose, T., Snider, W.D. J. Neurosci. Res. (2000) [Pubmed]
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