Neurotrophin receptor trafficking plays an important role in directing cellular communication in developing as well as mature neurons. However, little is known about the requirements for intracellular localization of the neurotrophin receptors in neurons. To isolate the subcellular membrane compartments containing the Trk neurotrophin receptor, we performed biochemical subcellular fractionation experiments using primary cortical neurons and rat PC12 pheochromocytoma cells. By differential centrifugation and density gradient centrifugation, we have isolated Trk-bearing compartments, suggesting distinct membranous localization of Trk receptors. A number of Trk-interacting proteins, such as GIPC and dynein light chain Tctex-1 were found in these fractions. Additionally, membranes enriched in phosphorylated activated forms of Trk receptors were found upon ligand treatment in primary neurons and PC12 cells. Interestingly, density gradient centrifugation experiments showed that Trk receptors from PC12 cells are present in heavy membrane fractions, while Trk from primary neurons are fractionated in lighter membrane fractions. These results suggest that the intracellular membrane localization of Trk can differ according to cell type. Taken together, these biochemical approaches allowed separation of distinct Trk-bearing membrane pools, which may be involved in different functions of neurotrophin receptor signaling and trafficking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)767-777
Number of pages11
JournalNeurochemical Research
Issue number6-7
StatePublished - Jun 2005


  • Endocytosis
  • Neurotrophin receptors
  • Subcellular fractionation
  • Trafficking
  • Trk


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