Pro-region of neurotrophins: role in synaptic modulation

Neuron. 2003 Aug 28;39(5):735-8. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(03)00538-5.


Neurotrophins are synthesized first as precursors, followed by maturation through proteolytic removal of the "pro" region. Since pro- and mature neurotrophins elicit opposite functional effects by differential interactions with Trks and p75 receptors, extracellular cleavage represents a new way to control the synaptic functions of neurotrophins. A single nucleotide mutation in the pro-region appears to affect synaptic targeting and activity-dependent secretion of BDNF in hippocampal neurons. These results demonstrate new mechanisms by which neurotrophins regulate synaptic plasticity and memory function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Nerve Growth Factors / chemistry
  • Nerve Growth Factors / genetics
  • Nerve Growth Factors / metabolism*
  • Nerve Growth Factors / pharmacology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Point Mutation
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational*
  • Receptor, Nerve Growth Factor
  • Receptor, trkA / metabolism
  • Receptors, Nerve Growth Factor / metabolism
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects*


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Receptor, Nerve Growth Factor
  • Receptors, Nerve Growth Factor
  • Receptor, trkA