[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: While deregulation of cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) has been implicated in neurodegenerative diseases, its precise role in synaptic plasticity and memory remains elusive. Proteolytic cleavage of p35, a regulatory subunit of Cdk5, by calpain results in the generation of the truncated p25 protein, which causes hyperactivation of Cdk5. Using region-specific and inducible transgenic mice, we show that transiently increased p25 expression in the hippocampus enhanced long-term potentiation (LTP) and facilitated hippocampus-dependent memory. Moreover, p25 expression increased the number of dendritic spines and synapses. Importantly, enhanced memory achieved by a transient expression of p25 followed by its repression did not cause neurodegeneration. In contrast, prolonged p25 production caused severe cognitive deficits, which were accompanied by synaptic and neuronal loss and impaired LTP. Our data suggest a role for p25 in synaptic plasticity, synaptogenesis, learning, and memory and provide a model whereby deregulation of a plasticity factor can contribute to neurodegeneration.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neurotrophins have diverse functions in the CNS. Initially synthesized as precursors (proneurotrophins), they are cleaved to produce mature proteins, which promote neuronal survival and enhance synaptic plasticity by activating Trk receptor tyrosine kinases. Recent studies indicate that proneurotrophins serve as signalling molecules by interacting with the p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR). Interestingly, proneurotrophins often have biological effects that oppose those of mature neurotrophins. Therefore, the proteolytic cleavage of proneurotrophins represents a mechanism that controls the direction of action of neurotrophins. New insights into the 'yin and yang' of neurotrophin activity have profound implications for our understanding of the role of neurotrophins in a wide range of cellular processes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pro- and mature brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) activate two distinct receptors: p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75(NTR)) and TrkB. Mature BDNF facilitates hippocampal synaptic potentiation through TrkB. Here we report that proBDNF, by activating p75(NTR), facilitates hippocampal long-term depression (LTD). Electron microscopy showed that p75(NTR) localized in dendritic spines, in addition to afferent terminals, of CA1 neurons. Deletion of p75(NTR) in mice selectively impaired the NMDA receptor-dependent LTD, without affecting other forms of synaptic plasticity. p75(NTR-/-) mice also showed a decrease in the expression of NR2B, an NMDA receptor subunit uniquely involved in LTD. Activation of p75(NTR) by proBDNF enhanced NR2B-dependent LTD and NR2B-mediated synaptic currents. These results show a crucial role for proBDNF-p75(NTR) signaling in LTD and its potential mechanism, and together with the finding that mature BDNF promotes synaptic potentiation, suggest a bidirectional regulation of synaptic plasticity by proBDNF and mature BDNF.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Synaptic actions of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) are 'gated' by cyclic AMP (cAMP), but the underlying molecular mechanisms remain unclear. Here we report that cAMP regulates BDNF function in mature hippocampal neurons by modulating the signaling and trafficking of its receptor TrkB. cAMP gated the TrkB tyrosine kinase with three characteristic features: BDNF-induced TrkB phosphorylation was attenuated by inhibitors of cAMP signaling, it was potentiated by cAMP analogs, and activation of the cAMP pathway alone had no effect. In addition, cAMP facilitated trafficking of TrkB to dendritic spines, possibly by promoting its interaction with synaptic scaffolding protein PSD-95. Norepinephrinergic and dopaminergic agonists, which elevate intracellular cAMP concentration, also enhanced TrkB phosphorylation and its translocation to spines. cAMP gated long-term modulation by BDNF of spine density, but not the number of primary dendrites. These results reveal a specific role of cAMP in controlling BDNF actions in the brain, and provide new insights into the molecular mechanism underlying cAMP gating.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Long-lasting forms of memory are generally believed to be mediated by protein synthesis-dependent, late-phase long-term potentiation (L-LTP). L-LTP exhibits at least two distinctive characteristics compared with early phase LTP (E-LTP): synaptic growth and requirement of gene transcription and new protein synthesis. In this review, we discuss the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the structural and functional changes of hippocampal synapses during L-LTP, in the context of long-term memory. We describe experiments that reveal the critical role of cAMP/protein kinase A and MAP kinase pathways, and the downstream transcription factor CREB. Because transcription-dependent long-term changes are input specific, we also discuss the role of "local protein synthesis" and "synaptic tagging" mechanisms that may confer synapse specificity. We then focus on brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), two secreted proteins that have been repeatedly implicated in L-LTP. Biochemical and molecular biology experiments indicate that the expression and secretion of both factors are enhanced by strong tetanic stimulation that induces L-LTP as well as by training in hippocampal-dependent memory tasks. Inhibition of either tPA or BDNF by gene knockout and specific inhibitors results in a significant impairments in L-LTP and long-term memory. Further work will be required to address the relationship between BDNF and tPA in various forms of synaptic plasticity, and the mechanisms by which BDNF/tPA achieves synapse-specific modulation. Finally, we discuss how the aging process affects L-LTP and long-term memory.
Ageing Research Reviews 12/2004; 3(4):407-30. DOI:10.1016/j.arr.2004.07.002 · 4.94 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Long-term memory is thought to be mediated by protein synthesis-dependent, late-phase long-term potentiation (L-LTP). Two secretory proteins, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), have been implicated in this process, but their relationship is unclear. Here we report that tPA, by activating the extracellular protease plasmin, converts the precursor proBDNF to the mature BDNF (mBDNF), and that such conversion is critical for L-LTP expression in mouse hippocampus. Moreover, application of mBDNF is sufficient to rescue L-LTP when protein synthesis is inhibited, which suggests that mBDNF is a key protein synthesis product for L-LTP expression.