Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a critical activity-dependent modulator of gene expression, which can regulate both transcription and translation. Several functions of BDNF, including the induction of dendrite outgrowth and long-term synaptic plasticity, are known to depend, in particular, upon the ability of BDNF to regulate protein synthesis. Although BDNF modestly increases total neuronal protein synthesis, substantial evidence indicates that BDNF induces the translation of only a small subset of expressed mRNAs and demonstrates an extraordinary degree of transcript specificity. The mechanism by which BDNF selectively upregulates the translation of only a discrete group of mRNAs is of intrinsic importance to its trophic function in promoting neuronal growth and plasticity, and is the focus of this review. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled 'BDNF Regulation of Synaptic Structure, Function, and Plasticity'.
- Post-transcriptional regulators
- Protein synthesis
- RNA-binding proteins
- Synaptic plasticity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience