Tropomyosin receptor kinase C (TrkC), also known as NT-3 growth factor receptor, neurotrophic tyrosine kinase receptor type 3, or TrkC tyrosine kinase is a protein that in humans is encoded by the NTRK3gene.
TrkC is part of a sub-family of protein kinases which includes TrkA and TrkB. Also, there are other neurotrophic factors structurally related to NT-3: NGF (for Nerve Growth Factor), BDNF (for Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor) and NT-4 (for Neurotrophin-4). While TrkB mediates the effects of BDNF, NT-4 and NT-3, TrkA is bound and thereby activated only by NGF. Further, TrkC binds and is activated only by NT-3.
TrkB binds BDNF and NT-4 more strongly than it binds NT-3. TrkC binds NT-3 more strongly than TrkB does.
There is one other NT-3 receptor family besides the Trks (TrkC & TrkB), called the "LNGFR" (for "low affinity nerve growth factor receptor"). As opposed to TrkC, the LNGFR plays a somewhat less clear role in NT-3 biology. Some researchers have shown the LNGFR binds and serves as a "sink" for neurotrophins. Cells which express both the LNGFR and the Trk receptors might therefore have a greater activity - since they have a higher "microconcentration" of the neurotrophin. It has also been shown, however, that the LNGFR may signal a cell to die via apoptosis - so therefore cells expressing the LNGFR in the absence of Trk receptors may die rather than live in the presence of a neurotrophin.
Role in cancer
Although originally identified as an oncogenic fusion in 1982, only recently has there been a renewed interest in the Trk family as it relates to its role in human cancers because of the identification of NTRK1 (TrkA), NTRK2 (TrkB) and NTRK3 (TrkC) gene fusions and other oncogenic alterations in a number of tumor types. A number of Trk inhibitors are (in 2015) in clinical trials and have shown early promise in shrinking human tumors.
TrkC (NTRK3 gene) inhibitors in development
Entrectinib (formerly RXDX-101) is an investigational drug developed by Ignyta, Inc., which has potential antitumor activity. It is a selective pan-trk receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) targeting gene fusions in trkA, trkB, and trkC (coded by NTRK1, NTRK2, and NTRK3 genes) that is currently in phase 2 clinical testing.
^Malenka RC, Nestler EJ, Hyman SE (2009). "Chapter 8: Atypical neurotransmitters". In Sydor A, Brown RY (eds.). Molecular Neuropharmacology: A Foundation for Clinical Neuroscience (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Medical. ISBN978-0-07-148127-4. Another common feature of neurotrophins is that they produce their physiologic effects by means of the tropomyosin receptor kinase (Trk) receptor family (also known as the tyrosine receptor kinase family). ... Try receptors. All neurotrophins bind to a class of highly homologous receptor tyrosine kinases known as Trk receptors, of which three types are known: TrkA, TrkB, and TrkC. These transmembrane receptors are glycoproteins whose molecular masses range from 140 to 145 kDa. Each type of Trk receptor tends to bind specific neurotrophins: TrkA is the receptor for NGF, TrkB the receptor for BDNF and NT-4, and TrkC the receptor for NT-3.However, some overlap in the specificity of these receptors has been noted.
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