Vol 3-6 Mini Review

Recent Advances in the Biology of BDNF And the Newly Identified Pro-Peptide

Toshiyuki Mizui1, 2*, Masami Kojima1,2,3#

Biomedical Research Inst. (BMD), National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), 1-8-31 Midorioka, Ikeda, Osaka, 563-8577 Japan

Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology (CREST), Science and Technology Agency (JST), Kawaguchi, 332-0012, Japan

Graduate School of Frontier Bioscience, Osaka University, Suita 565-0871, Japan

Most growth factors are initially synthesized as precursors. To produce biologically active mature peptides, the pro-domain is cleaved by proteolytic processing. However, compared with mature bioactive growth factors, the biological roles of pro-domains are poorly understood. Recent new findings on brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a growth factor in the brain that promotes neuronal survival, differentiation, and synaptic plasticity, have been reported. Interestingly, the pro-domain (pro-peptide) of BDNF is endogenously present and localized at presynaptic termini, where it surprisingly functions as a facilitator of long-term depression (LTD). Given that BDNF elicits synaptic transmission and long-term potentiation (LTP), BDNF and its pro-peptide might exert distinct roles in synaptic plasticity in the central nervous system (CNS). In addition to reports on the BDNF pro-peptide, we review recent literature on the role of BDNF in the peripheral nervous system (PNS), and in brain-body interactions following exercise. Together, these findings provide new insight into BDNF biology.

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