NGF Controls Dendrite Development in Hippocampal Neurons by Binding to p75NTR and Modulating the Cellular Targets of Notch


The American Society for Cell Biology


Notch and neurotrophins control neuronal shape, but it is not known whether their signaling pathways intersect. Here we report results from hippocampal neuronal cultures that are in support of this possibility. We found that low cell density or blockade of Notch signaling by a soluble Delta-Fc ligand decreased the mRNA levels of the nuclear targets of Notch, the homologues of enhancer-of-split 1 and 5 (Hes1/5). This effect was associated with enhanced sprouting of new dendrites or dendrite branches. In contrast, high cell density or exposure of low-density cultures to NGF increased the Hes1/5 mRNA, reduced the number of primary dendrites and promoted dendrite elongation. The NGF effects on both Hes1/5 expression and dendrite morphology were prevented by p75-antibody (a p75NTR-blocking antibody) or transfection with enhancer-of-split 6 (Hes6), a condition known to suppress Hes activity. Nuclear translocation of NF-kappaB was identified as a link between p75NTR and Hes1/5 because it was required for the up-regulation of these two genes. The convergence of the Notch and p75NTR signaling pathways at the level of Hes1/5 illuminates an unexpected mechanism through which a diffusible factor (NGF) could regulate dendrite growth when cell-cell interaction via Notch is not in action.

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