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Modulation of Autophagy by BDNF Underlies Synaptic Plasticity.

Cell metabolism | Jul 5, 2017

Autophagy is crucial for neuronal integrity. Loss of key autophagic components leads to progressive neurodegeneration and structural defects in pre- and postsynaptic morphologies. However, the molecular mechanisms regulating autophagy in the brain remain elusive. Similarly, while it is widely accepted that protein turnover is required for synaptic plasticity, the contribution of autophagy to the degradation of synaptic proteins is unknown. Here, we report that BDNF signaling via the tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB) and the phosphatidylinositol-3' kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway suppresses autophagy in vivo. In addition, we demonstrate that suppression of autophagy is required for BDNF-induced synaptic plasticity and for memory enhancement under conditions of nutritional stress. Finally, we identify three key remodelers of postsynaptic densities as cargo of autophagy. Our results establish autophagy as a pivotal component of BDNF signaling, which is essential for BDNF-induced synaptic plasticity. This molecular mechanism underlies behavioral adaptations that increase fitness in times of scarcity.

Pubmed ID: 28683289 RIS Download

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