Local versus long-range neurotrophin receptor signalling: Endosomes are not just carriers for axonal transport

Dusan Matusica, Elizabeth Coulson

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    17 Citations (Scopus)


    Neurotrophins play a critical role in neuronal development and survival, as well as maintenance of the adult nervous system. Neurotrophins can mediate their effects by signalling locally at the nerve terminal, or signalling retrogradely from the axonal terminal to the cell soma to regulate gene expression. Given that the axon terminals of many nerve cells can be up to a metre away from their soma, neurons have evolved specialized long-range signalling platforms that depend on a highly regulated network of intracellular membrane compartments termed "signalling endosomes". Endosomal trafficking of activated receptors controls not only the axonal retrograde signals but also local receptor recycling and degradation. Endosomal trafficking involving the sorting and compartmentalizing of different signals, which are subsequently distributed to the appropriate cellular destination, can at least partially explain how neurotrophins generate a diverse array of signalling outcomes. Although signalling endosomes provide a useful model for understanding how different cell surface receptor-mediated signals are generated and transported, the precise role, identity and functional definition of a signalling endosome remains unclear. In this review we will discuss the regulation of local versus long-range neurotrophin signalling, with a specific focus on recent developments in the role of endosomes in regulating the fate of Trk receptors.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)57-63
    Number of pages7
    JournalSeminars in Cell and Developmental Biology
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


    • Endosome acidification
    • Membrane motility
    • Neurotrophins
    • Receptor internalization
    • Signalling endosome
    • Trk receptors


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