TrkB interacts with ErbB4 and regulates NRG1-induced NR2B phosphorylation in cortical neurons before synaptogenesis

Chirayu D. Pandya, Anilkumar Pillai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: Neuregulin 1 (NRG1) and NMDARs play important roles in various neuronal functions including neural development. NMDARs also promote many cellular events such as proliferation and survival of neuroblasts before synapse formation. Although many recent studies have indicated that NRG1 regulates NMDAR function in cortical neurons, the effect of NRG1 on NMDAR activation before synapse formation is not well studied. Results: NRG1 induces activation of NMDAR subunit NR2B, and tropomyosin-related kinase receptor B (TrkB), the receptor for BDNF via activation of phospholipase C-gamma (PLC-γ) in immature primary cortical neurons. Our data using TrkB inhibitor (K252a), TrkB siRNA and TrkB-/- neurons demonstrated that TrkB inhibition suppresses NRG1-induced NR2B activation in neurons. We found that NRG1 stimulation leads to GABAAreceptor-mediated TrkB activation. Co-immunoprecipitation and proximity ligase assay showed that TrkB interacts with ErbB4 (NRG1 receptor) and the TrkB-ErbB4 interaction was increased following NRG1 treatment. A significant reduction in TrkB-ErbB4 interaction was observed in the prefrontal cortex of schizophrenia subjects. We found significant increase in released BDNF levels following NRG1 treatment, which was inhibited by ErbB4 inhibitor, AG1478. In addition, pretreatment with BDNF neutralizing antibody, but not control IgG abolished NRG1-induced increases in phospho-TrkB and phospho-NR2B levels. Moreover, studies using TrkB mutants showed that intercellular domain of TrkB is necessary for TrkB-ErbB4 interaction and NR2B activation. Conclusions: BDNF/TrkB signaling plays an important role in the NRG1-stimulated NR2B regulation. These findings could be of relevance to many neurodevelopmental disorders, as NRG1 and BDNF signaling pathways have been implicated in autism and schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number47
JournalCell Communication and Signaling
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 24 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Pandya and Pillai; licensee BioMed Central.


  • BDNF
  • NR2B
  • NRG1
  • Neurons
  • Synapse
  • TrkB

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'TrkB interacts with ErbB4 and regulates NRG1-induced NR2B phosphorylation in cortical neurons before synaptogenesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this