Post-transcriptional regulation by brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the nervous system

Alexandra M. Amen, Daniel L. Pham, Mollie K. Meffert

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a prominent regulator of activity-dependent neuronal gene expression. Through activation of Tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB) receptors, BDNF signaling promotes neuronal growth, survival, and plasticity by regulating both transcription and translation. BDNF produces a modest increase in total cellular translation in neurons, which occurs both in the cell soma and in dendrites. Recent research has demonstrated, however, that the effects of BDNF on translation show a high degree of transcript-selectivity, with specific increases in translation of a restricted subset of pro-growth mRNAs. The selectivity of post-transcriptional changes in gene expression is increasingly understood to underlie protein-synthesis-dependent functions of BDNF, such as in neuronal growth and long-term synaptic plasticity. This review will primarily discuss mechanisms through which BDNF regulates translational specificity both locally and globally, and subsequent physiological responses to BDNF requiring novel translation. Elucidating post-transcriptional mechanisms of gene control and their downstream effects is crucial to understanding the role of BDNF in normal cognitive function and its dysregulation in disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPost-Transcriptional Mechanisms in Endocrine Regulation
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9783319251240
ISBN (Print)9783319251226
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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