Nerve growth factor pathway

Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) is the best characterized member of neurotrophin family, which also includes BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor), NT3 (Neurotrophin3) and NT4/5 (Neurotrophin-4/5). Neurotrophins are small secretary proteins. They maintain the critical balance of cell survival and death in the central and peripheral nervous system.

NGF is important in promoting cell growth, differentiation and survival. It can bind to two receptors: the high affinity Tyrosine Kinase Receptor-A (TRKA) and the low affinity P75 (Neurotrophin Receptor) (p75 (NTR)). NGF binding to TRKA activates numerous signaling pathways that include Ras, Rap-1, and the Cdc42-Rac-Rho family, PI-3-kinase and phospholipase Cgamma (PLCgamma) and signals neural cell survival and differentiation. P75 (NTR) promotes apoptosis in the absence of TRKA. In the presence of TRKA, p75 (NTR) enhances TRKA mediated signals.

Alterations in NGF levels have been implicated in neurodegenerative disorders and psychiatric disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, depression and substance abuse.

Click gene symbol on the map to view ORF/cDNA clone.

Data source: KEGG, BioCarta