GDNF family of ligands

GDNF Family Of Ligands

GDNF family of ligands

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The GDNF family of ligands (GFL) consists of four neurotrophic factors: glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), neurturin (NRTN), artemin (ARTN), and persephin (PSPN). GFLs have been shown to play a role in a number of biological processes including cell survival, neurite outgrowth, cell differentiation and cell migration. In particular signalling by GDNF promotes the survival of dopaminergic neurons.

Signalling complex formation

At the cell surface of target cells, a signalling complex forms, composed of a particular GFL dimer, a receptor tyrosine kinase molecule RET, and a cell surface-bound co-receptor that is a member of the GFRα protein family. The primary ligands for the co-receptors GFRα1, GFRα2, GFRα3, and GFRα4 are GDNF, NRTN, ARTN, and PSPN, respectively.Upon initial GFL-GFRα complex formation, the complex then brings together two molecules of RET, triggering trans-autophosphorylation of specific tyrosine residues within the tyrosine kinase domain of each RET molecule. Phosphorylation of these tyrosines then initiates intracellular signal transduction processes.

It has been shown that in the case of GDNF, heparan sulfate glycosaminoglycans are also required to be present at the cell surface in order for RET mediated GDNF signalling to occur.

Clinical significance

GFLs are an important therapeutical target for several conditions:

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