A critical step in neuronal development is the formation of axon/ dendrite polarity, a process involving symmetry breaking in the newborn neuron. Local self-amplifying processes could enhance and stabilize the initial asymmetry in the distribution of axon/dendrite determinants, but the identity of these processes remains elusive. We here report that BDNF, a secreted neurotrophin essential for the survival and differentiation ofmany neuronal populations, serves as a self-amplifying autocrine factor in promoting axon formation in embryonic hippocampal neurons by triggering two nested positive-feedback mechanisms. First, BDNF elevates cytoplasmic cAMP and protein kinase A activity, which triggers further secretion of BDNF and membrane insertion of its receptor TrkB. Second, BDNF/TrkB signaling activates PI3-kinase that promotes anterograde transport of TrkB in the putative axon, further enhancing local BDNF/TrkB signaling. Together, these self-amplifying BDNF actions ensure stable elevation of local cAMP/protein kinase A activity that is critical for axon differentiation and growth.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - 8 Nov 2011|
- Axon initiation and growth
- cAMP/protein kinase A elevation
- Neurotrophin autocrine loops
- Trk redistribution