The trk proto-oncogene encodes a 140-kilodalton, membrane-spanning protein tyrosine kinase (p140prototrk) that is expressed only in neural tissues. Nerve growth factor (NGF) stimulates phosphorylation of p140 prototrk in neural cell lines and in embryonic dorsal root ganglia. Affinity cross-linking and equilibrium binding experiments with 125I-labeled NGF indicate that p140prototrk binds NGF specifically in cultured cells with a dissociation constant of 10-9 molar. The identification of p140prototrk as an NGF receptor indicates that this protein participates in the primary signal transduction mechanism of NGF.
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