Neurotrophin signalling pathways regulating neuronal apoptosis
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Recent evidence indicates that naturally occurring neuronal death in mammals is regulated by the interplay between receptor-mediated prosurvival and proapoptotic signals. The neurotrophins, a family of growth factors best known for their positive effects on neuronal biology, have now been shown to mediate both positive and negative survival signals, by signalling through the Trk and p75 neurotrophin receptors, respectively. The mechanisms whereby these two neurotrophin receptors interact to determine neuronal survival have been difficult to decipher, largely because both can signal independently or coincidentally, depending upon the cell or developmental context. Nonetheless, the past several years have seen significant advances in our understanding of this receptor signalling system. In this review, we focus on the proapoptotic actions of the p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR), and on the interplay between Trk and p75NTR that determines neuronal survival.
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