Not Waiting for the Cut

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Science  30 Nov 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5548, pp. 1785
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5548.1785q

Some polypeptide growth factors are synthesized as precursors that are enzymatically cleaved before secretion. Lee et al. (p. 1945) report that certain neurotrophin precursors can be secreted and are biologically active. Secreted proneurotrophins stimulated distinct cellular responses through receptors that bind to mature forms of the factors as well. Proneurotrophins could also be cleaved extracellulary to generate mature forms. These observations may prompt a re-evaluation of the potential actions of other precursor proteins.

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