trkB, a novel tyrosine protein kinase receptor expressed during mouse neural development

R. Klein, L. F. Parada, F. Coulier, M. Barbacid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

485 Scopus citations


We have isolated a novel member of the tyrosine protein kinase family of cell surface receptors. This gene, designated trkB, is highly related to the human trk proto-oncogene. At the amino acid level, their respective products share a 57% homology in their extracellular regions including 9 of the 11 cysteines present in the trk proto-oncogene. This homology increases to 88% within their respective tyrosine kinase catalytic domains. Both trk and trkB are equally distantly related to the other members of this gene family of receptors. A biologically active cDNA clone of trkB can direct the synthesis of gp145(trkB), a glycoprotein of 145 kd of which only 93 kd correspond to its polypeptide backbone. In adult mice, trkB is preferentially expressed in brain tissue, although significant levels of trkB RNA have also been observed in lung, muscle and ovaries. In addition, trkB transcripts can be detected in mid and late gestation embryos. The trkB locus exhibits a complex pattern of transcription. At least seven RNA species ranging in size from ~ 9 kb to 2 kb have been identified in brain. However, only a subset of these transcripts appears to be expressed in the other tissues. In situ hybridization analysis of 14 and 18 day old mouse embryos indicates that trkB transcripts are localized in the central (CNS) and peripheral (PNS) nervous systems, including brain, spinal cord, spinal and cranial ganglia, paravertebral trunk of the sympathetic nervous system and various innervation pathways. These results suggest that trkB may code for a novel cell surface receptor involved in neurogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3701-3709
Number of pages9
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1989


  • cell surface receptor
  • neural development
  • tyrosine protein kinase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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