Cell-cell communication is often made possible by the production of protein ligands in one cell that are recognized by cell-surface receptors on other cells. This review focuses on two families of protein ligands that use receptors that are largely limited to neuronal cells in their distributions and can be classified as either receptor tyrosine kinases or cytokine receptors. Because of the restricted distributionsof their receptors, the actions of these protein ligands are 'Current address: Department of Biology, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong Annual Reviews www.annualreviews.org/aronline IP & YANCOPOUIBS largely specific to neuronal cells. Several of these factors were indeed discovered for their ability to support the survival of neuronal cells, based on the concept that the survival of neurons during development is influenced by signals provided by their target tissues, and were thus termed neuronal survival factors or neurotrophic factors. In addition to regulating neuronal survival, neurotrophic factors can exert other effects that are critical for the differentiation and maintenance of the nervous system and that in some cases do not appear to be provided by the neuronal target. The first family of neurotrophicfactors discussedin this review is collectively known as the neurotrophins and
Annual Review of Neuroscience – Annual Reviews
Published: Mar 1, 1996
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