nNOS-induced tyrosine nitration of TRKB impairs BDNF signaling and restrains neuronal plasticity

Caroline Biojone*, Plinio C Casarotto, Cecilia Cannarozzo, Senem Merve Fred, Rosa Herrera-Rodríguez, Angelina Lesnikova, Mikko Voipio, Eero Castrén

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Nitric oxide (NO) has been long recognized as an important modulator of neural plasticity, but characterization of the molecular mechanisms involved - specially the guanylyl cyclase-independent ones - has been challenging. There is evidence that NO could modify BDNF-TRKB signaling, a key mediator of neuronal plasticity. However, the mechanism underlying the interplay of NO and TRKB remains unclear. Here we show that NO induces nitration of the tyrosine 816 in the TRKB receptor in vivo and in vitro, and that post-translational modification inhibits TRKB phosphorylation and binding of phospholipase Cγ1 (PLCγ1) to this same tyrosine residue. Additionally, nitration triggers clathrin-dependent endocytosis of TRKB through the adaptor protein AP-2 and ubiquitination, thereby increasing translocation of TRKB away from the neuronal surface and directing it towards lysosomal degradation. Accordingly, inhibition of nitric oxide increases TRKB phosphorylation and TRKB-dependent neurite branching in neuronal cultures. In vivo, chronic inhibition of neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) dramatically reduced TRKB nitration and facilitated TRKB signaling in the visual cortex, and promoted a shift in ocular dominance upon monocular deprivation - an indicator of increased plasticity. Altogether, our data describe and characterize a new molecular brake on plasticity, namely nitration of TRKB receptors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102413
JournalProgress in Neurobiology
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • BDNF
  • Nitration
  • Nitric oxide
  • nNOS
  • Plasticity
  • TRKB


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