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J Neurosci November 15, 1997; 17 (22): 8749-55.

Critical role of TrkB and brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the differentiation and survival of retinal pigment epithelium.

Liu ZZ , Zhu LQ , Eide FF .

In the vertebrate eye, the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and the neural retina arise from a single layer of neuroectoderm. Factors influencing the differentiation of retinal neurons have been identified; however, little is known about molecules directing the differentiation of the RPE. Here we have found that the neurotrophin brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays an autocrine role in the differentiation and survival of Xenopus laevis RPE. Fluorescent in situ hybridization studies showed a precise co-expression of BDNF and its receptor trkB in the retinal neuroepithelium and actively differentiating RPE; in vitro studies demonstrated survival- and differentiation-promoting effects in serum-free explants and dissociated cultures. When a dominant negative mutant of the trkB receptor was expressed in developing embryos, severe arrest of RPE differentiation was seen with persistence of nestin- and Notch-positive neuroblasts.

PubMed ID: 9348344
PMC ID: PMC6573079
Article link: J Neurosci
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: bdnf myc nes notch1 ntrk2 rpe

Article Images: [+] show captions
References [+] :
Artavanis-Tsakonas, The Notch locus and the cell biology of neuroblast segregation. 1992, Pubmed