Itay Tirosh, Zuckerman Faculty Scholar, publishes paper in Nature
Weizmann Institute of Science
The role of the nervous system in the regulation of cancer is increasingly appreciated. In gliomas, neuronal activity drives tumour progression through paracrine signalling factors such as neuroligin-3 and brain-derived neurotrophic factor(BDNF), and through electro physiologically functional neuron-to-glioma synapses mediated by AMPA (α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid) receptors. The consequent glioma cell membrane depolarization drives tumour proliferation. In the healthy brain, activity-regulated secretion of BDNF promotes adaptive plasticity of synaptic connectivity and strength. Here we show that malignant synapses exhibit similar plasticity regulated by BDNF.