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During development, neural networks are established in a highly organized manner, which persists throughout life. Neurotrophins play crucial roles in the developing nervous system. Among the neurotrophins, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is highly conserved in gene structure and function during vertebrate evolution, and serves an important role(More)
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and alpha-melanophore-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) are co-sequestered in secretory granules in melanotrope cells of the pituitary pars intermedia of the amphibian Xenopus laevis. alpha-MSH is responsible for pigment dispersion in dermal melanophores during the process of black-background adaptation.(More)
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a neurotrophin with important growth-promoting properties. We report here the first characterization of a BDNF gene in an amphibian, Xenopus laevis, and demonstrate that environmental factors can activate this gene in a promoter-specific fashion. The Xenopus BDNF gene contains six promoter-specific 5'-exons and(More)
Methyl CpG binding protein-2 (MeCP2) is an essential epigenetic regulator in human brain development. Mutations in the MeCP2 gene have been linked to Rett syndrome, a severe X-linked progressive neurodevelopmental disorder, and one of the most common causes of mental retardation in females. MeCP2 duplication and triplication have also been found to affect(More)
Melanotrope cells of the amphibian pituitary pars intermedia produce alpha-melanophore-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH), a peptide which causes skin darkening during adaptation to a dark background. The secretory activity of the melanotrope of the South African clawed toad Xenopus laevis is regulated by multiple factors, both classical neurotransmitters and(More)
This review gives an overview of the functioning of the hypothalamo-hypophyseal neuroendocrine interface in the pituitary neurointermediate lobe, as it relates to melanotrope cell function in two amphibian species, Rana ridibunda and Xenopus laevis. It primarily but not exclusively concerns the work of two collaborating laboratories, the Laboratory for(More)
In mammals, pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) and its receptors PAC1-R, VPAC1-R, and VPAC2-R play a role in various physiological processes, including proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene expression. We have previously found that PACAP stimulates POMC gene expression, POMC biosynthesis, and(More)
The neuropeptides, pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) are implicated in the regulation of gene expression and hormone secretion in mammalian melanotrope cells and a mammalian pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC)-producing tumor cell line, but the physiological relevance of this regulation is(More)
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is, despite its name, also found outside the central nervous system (CNS), but the functional significance of this observation is largely unknown. This review concerns the expression of BDNF in the pituitary gland. While the presence of the neurotrophin in the mammalian pituitary gland is well documented its(More)
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