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Keywords:

  • alternative splicing;
  • brain-derived neurotrophic factor;
  • expression analysis;
  • phosphorylation;
  • transcription;
  • TrkB

J. Neurochem. (2010) 113, 952–964.

Abstract

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor and neurotrophin-4 high-affinity receptor tropomyosine related kinase (Trk) B is required for the differentiation and maintenance of specific neuron populations. Misregulation of TrkB has been reported in many human diseases, including cancer, obesity and neurological and psychiatric disorders. Alternative splicing that generates receptor isoforms with different functional properties also regulates TrkB function. Here, we describe numerous novel isoforms of TrkB proteins, including isoforms generated by alternative splicing of cassette exons in the regions encoding both the extracellular and intracellular domain and also N-terminally truncated isoforms encoded by novel 5′ exon-containing transcripts. We also characterize the intracellular localization and phosphorylation potential of novel TrkB isoforms and find that these proteins have unique properties. In addition, we describe the expression profiles of all the known human TrkB transcripts in adult tissues and also during postnatal development in the human prefrontal cortex. We show that transcripts encoding the full-length TrkB receptor and the C-terminally truncated TrkB-T1 have different expression profiles as compared to the proteins they encode. Identification of 36 potential TrkB protein isoforms suggests high complexity in the synthesis, regulation and function of this important neurotrophin receptor emphasizing the need for further study of these novel TrkB variants.