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

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, neurotrophin-3, and neurotrophin-4 bind to a single leucine-rich motif of TrkB.

TrkB is a member of the Trk family of neurotrophin receptors. Its extracellular domain exhibits the same modular structure found in its homologs, TrkA and TrkC, consisting of an N-terminal LRM3 cassette and two immunoglobulin-like modules (Ig2 domain) adjacent to the membrane. The LRM3 cassette comprises two cysteine-rich clusters framing a tandem array of three leucine-rich motifs (LRMs). On the basis of the recent identification of a nerve growth factor (NGF) binding site within TrkA, the ability of the different structural entities within the extracellular domain of TrkB to bind the various neurotrophins was determined by using a recombinant receptor approach. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), neurotrophin-3 (NT-3), and neurotrophin-4 (NT-4) bound to the LRM3 cassette of TrkB, whereas NGF did not. These binding characteristics evidently reflect in vivo specificities. A more precise mapping of the region(s) responsible for binding BDNF, NT-3, and NT-4 identified the second leucine-rich motif of TrkB as a functional unit capable of binding all three neurotrophins. The affinities and kinetics that this short stretch of amino acids exhibited with respect to the different neurotrophins were clearly akin to those observed for cells ectopically expressing TrkB receptors. With 24 amino acids determining the affinities and kinetics of the interactions with three different partners, the leucine-rich motif is strongly established as one of the most potent and flexible protein--protein interaction motifs.[1]


  1. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, neurotrophin-3, and neurotrophin-4 bind to a single leucine-rich motif of TrkB. Windisch, J.M., Marksteiner, R., Lang, M.E., Auer, B., Schneider, R. Biochemistry (1995) [Pubmed]
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