Regulation of dendritic development by BDNF requires activation of CRTC1 by glutamate

Charles Finsterwald, Hubert Fiumelli, Jean René Cardinaux, Jean Luc Martin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Dendritic growth is essential for the establishment of a functional nervous system. Among extrinsic signals that control dendritic development, substantial evidence indicates that BDNF regulates dendritic morphology. However, little is known about the underlying mechanisms by which BDNF controls dendritic growth. In this study, we show that the MAPK signaling pathway and the transcription factor cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) mediate the effects of BDNF on dendritic length and complexity. However, phosphorylation of CREB alone is not sufficient for the stimulation of dendritic growth by BDNF. Thus, using a mutant form of CREB unable to bind CREB-regulated transcription coactivator (CRTC1), we demonstrate that this effect also requires a functional interaction between CREB and CRTC1. Moreover, inhibition of CRTC1 expression by shRNA-mediated knockdown abolished BDNF-induced dendritic growth of cortical neurons. Interestingly, we found that nuclear translocation of CRTC1 results from activation of NMDA receptors by glutamate, a process that is essential for the effects of BDNF on dendritic development. Together, these data identify a previously unrecognized mechanism by which CREB and the coactivator CRTC1 mediate the effects of BDNF on dendritic growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28587-28595
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number37
StatePublished - Sep 10 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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