Selective activation and down-regulation of Trk receptors by neurotrophins in human neurons co-expressing TrkB and TrkC


In the central nervous system, most neurons co-express TrkB and TrkC, the tyrosine kinase receptors for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and neurotrophin-3 (NT3). As NT3 can also activate TrkB, it has been difficult to understand how NT3 and TrkC can exert unique roles in the assembly of neuronal circuits. Using neurons differentiated from human embryonic stem cells expressing both TrkB and TrkC, we compared Trk activation by BDNF and NT3. To avoid the complications resulting from TrkB activation by NT3, we also generated neurons from stem cells engineered to lack TrkB. We found that NT3 activates TrkC at concentrations lower than those of BDNF needed to activate TrkB. Downstream of Trk activation, the changes in gene expression caused by TrkC activation were found to be similar to those resulting from TrkB activation by BDNF, including a number of genes involved in synaptic plasticity. At high NT3 concentrations, receptor selectivity was lost as a result of TrkB activation. In addition, TrkC was down-regulated, as was also the case with TrkB at high BDNF concentrations. By contrast, receptor selectivity as well as reactivation were preserved when neurons were exposed to low neurotrophin concentrations. These results indicate that the selectivity of NT3/TrkC signalling can be explained by the ability of NT3 to activate TrkC at concentrations lower than those needed to activate TrkB. They also suggest that in a therapeutic perspective, the dosage of Trk receptor agonists will need to be taken into account if prolonged receptor activation is to be achieved. © 2022 The Authors. Journal of Neurochemistry published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of International Society for Neurochemistry.

Authors Ateaque S, Merkouris S, Wyatt S, Allen ND, Xie J, DiStefano PS, Lindsay RM, Barde YA
Journal Journal of neurochemistry
Publication Date 2022 Jun;161(6):463-477
PubMed 35536742
PubMed Central PMC9321069
DOI 10.1111/jnc.15617

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