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Connecting the dots: trafficking of neurotrophins, lectins and diverse pathogens by binding to the neurotrophin receptor p75NTR

Authors

  • Rafal Butowt,

    1. Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno, NV 89557, USA
    2. Department of Animal Physiology, Institute of General and Molecular Biology, Copernicus University, Torun, Poland
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  • Christopher S. Von Bartheld

    1. Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno, NV 89557, USA
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: Dr Christopher von Bartheld, as above.
E-mail: chrisvb@physio.unr.edu

Abstract

The common receptor for neurotrophins, p75, has important roles in internalization and trafficking of neurotrophins along axons. Recent studies show that an astonishing array of proteins, including lectins, pathogens and neurotoxins, bind the p75 receptor, suggesting that they can hijack and utilize this receptor for trafficking between neuronal populations within the nervous system. Such pathogens include the neurologically important rabies viruses, prion proteins, β-amyloid and possibly tetanus toxin. These proteins may hijack existing transport machineries designed to traffick neurotrophins, thus allowing the infiltration and distribution of pathogens and toxins among vulnerable neuronal populations with devastating effects, as seen in rabies, prion encephalopathies, Alzheimer's disease and tetanic muscle spasm. The discovery of an entry and transport machinery that is potentially shared between pathogens and neurotrophins sheds light ono trafficking systems in the nervous system and may assist the design of novel therapeutic avenues that prevent or slow the progression of diverse chronic and acute neurological disorders.

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