Retrograde Transport of Neurotrophins from the Eye to the Brain in Chick Embryos: Roles of the p75NTRand trkB Receptors

Christopher S. von Bartheld, Reg Williams, Frances Lefcort, Douglas O. Clary, Louis F. Reichardt, Mark Bothwell
1996 Journal of Neuroscience  
The receptors involved in retrograde transport of neurotrophins from the retina to the isthmo-optic nucleus (ION) of chick embryos were characterized using antibodies to the ~75 neurotrophin receptor and trkB receptors. Survival of neurons in the ION has been shown previously to be regulated by targetderived trophic factors with survival promoted or inhibited by ocular injection of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) or nerve growth factor (NGF), respectively. In the present paper, we show
more » ... that during the period of target dependence, these neurons express trkB and p75 neurotrophin receptor but not trkA or trkC mRNAs. We also show that BDNF and NT-3 were transported efficiently at low doses, whereas NGF was transpotted significantly only at higher doses. The transport of BDNF and NT-3 was reduced by high concentrations of NGF or by antibodies to either trkB or the ~75 neurotrophin receptor. Thus both receptors help mediate retrograde transport of these neurotrophins. Ocular injection of the comparatively specific trk inhibitor K252a did not reduce transport of exogenous BDNF, but did induce significant neuronal death in the ION, which could not be prevented by co-injection of BDNF. Thus, transport of BDNF alone does not generate a trophic signal at the cell body when axonal trkB is inactivated. In summary, our results indicate that both ~75 neurotrophin and trkB receptors can mediate internalization and retrograde transport of BDNF, but activation of trkB seems to be essential for the survivalpromoting actions of this neurotrophin.
doi:10.1523/jneurosci.16-09-02995.1996 fatcat:cr2uesw4ffatxiv3tqadr7tjny