Behind the Study: Novel TRKB Agonists Activate TRKB and Downstream ERK and AKT Signaling



October 31, 2022

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  • Dr. Ya-Jen Chiu from the Department of Life Science at National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei, discusses a research paper she co-authored that was published by Aging (Aging-US) in Volume 14, Issue 18, entitled, “Novel TRKB agonists activate TRKB and downstream ERK and AKT signaling to protect Aβ-GFP SH-SY5Y cells against Aβ toxicity.” DOI - Corresponding authors - Chiung-Mei Chen -, Ying-Chieh Sun -, Guey-Jen Lee-Chen - Abstract Decreased BDNF and impaired TRKB signaling contribute to neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease (AD). We have shown previously that coumarin derivative LM-031 enhanced CREB/BDNF/BCL2 pathway. In this study we explored if LM-031 analogs LMDS-1 to -4 may act as TRKB agonists to protect SH-SY5Y cells against Aβ toxicity. By docking computation for binding with TRKB using 7,8-DHF as a control, all four LMDS compounds displayed potential of binding to domain d5 of TRKB. In addition, all four LMDS compounds exhibited anti-aggregation and neuroprotective efficacy on SH-SY5Y cells with induced Aβ-GFP expression. Knock-down of TRKB significantly attenuated TRKB downstream signaling and the neurite outgrowth-promoting effects of these LMDS compounds. Among them, LMDS-1 and -2 were further examined for TRKB signaling. Treatment of ERK inhibitor U0126 or PI3K inhibitor wortmannin decreased p-CREB, BDNF and BCL2 in Aβ-GFP cells, implicating the neuroprotective effects are via activating TRKB downstream ERK, PI3K-AKT and CREB signaling. LMDS-1 and -2 are blood-brain barrier permeable as shown by parallel artificial membrane permeability assay. Our results demonstrate how LMDS-1 and -2 are likely to work as TRKB agonists to exert neuroprotection in Aβ cells, which may shed light on the potential application in therapeutics of AD. Sign up for free Altmetric alerts about this article - Keywords - aging, Alzheimer’s disease, TRKB agonists, Aβ, neuroprotection, therapeutics About Aging-US Launched in 2009, Aging-US publishes papers of general interest and biological significance in all fields of aging research and age-related diseases, including cancer—and now, with a special focus on COVID-19 vulnerability as an age-dependent syndrome. Topics in Aging-US go beyond traditional gerontology, including, but not limited to, cellular and molecular biology, human age-related diseases, pathology in model organisms, signal transduction pathways (e.g., p53, sirtuins, and PI-3K/AKT/mTOR, among others), and approaches to modulating these signaling pathways. Please visit our website at​​ and connect with us: SoundCloud - Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - YouTube -​ LinkedIn - Pinterest - Media Contact 18009220957 MEDIA@IMPACTJOURNALS.COM

    Analytical TechniquesDiagnosticsMolecular BiologyNeuroscience

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