THE ROLE OF NEU1 SIALIDASE IN Trk TYROSINE KINASE RECEPTOR ACTIVATION
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The signaling pathways of tyrosine kinase Trk receptors and their downstream biological effects are well known, but the parameters controlling the interactions between the receptors and their natural ligands still remain to be defined. Recent published reports from our laboratory indicate that nerve growth factor (NGF)-induced TrkA receptor activation is dependent on a membrane cellular sialidase. This sialidase activity specifically targets and hydrolyzes sialyl α-2, 3-linked β-galactosyl residues resulting in the desialylation and activation of the receptor. These findings support a novel hypothesis that places mammalian sialidase(s) in a cycle of activation of these receptors by their natural ligand. Taken together, they also predict a prerequisite desialylation of Trk receptors caused by a sialidase on the cell surface enabling the removal of a steric hindrance to receptor dimerization. Until now, the sialidase associated with neurotrophin-treated live Trk-expressing cells has not been identified. The molecular mechanism(s) of sialidase activation by neurotrophin factors binding to their receptors also remains unknown. In this thesis, the novel role of Neu1 sialidase in the activation of ligand-induced TrkA and TrkB receptors has been identified. It has been reported for the first time that Neu1 is already in complex with naïve and ligand-induced Trk receptors. In addition, a membrane sialidase mechanism initiated by NGF binding to TrkA has been indentified. It suggests a potentiation of GPCR-signaling via membrane Gαi subunit proteins and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) activation to induce Neu1 sialidase activation in live TrkA- and TrkB-expressing cells and primary neurons. These results establish a unique mode of regulation of Trk receptors by their natural ligand and define a new function for Neu1 sialidase. Preliminary data indicate that members of the family of tyrosine kinase receptors like epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and insulin receptor are also under the same regulatory control of Neu1 sialidase. Recent reports from the laboratory have indicated that ligand-induced activation of the highly glycosylated Toll-like receptors, TLR-2,-3 and -4 is also dependent on Neu1 sialidase on the cell surface. Taken all together, the findings in this thesis uncover a Neu1 and MMP-9 cross-talk on the cell surface which is critically essential for neurotrophin-induced Trk tyrosine kinase receptor activation and neuron function.