Myelin-associated glycoprotein (MAG) is a potent inhibitor of neurite outgrowth from a variety of neurons. The receptor for MAG or signals that elicit morphological changes in neurons remained to be established. Here we show that the neurotrophin receptor p75 (p75NTR) is the signal transducing element for MAG. Adult dorsal root ganglion neurons or postnatal cerebellar neurons from mice carrying a mutation in the p75NTR gene are insensitive to MAG with regard to neurite outgrowth. MAG activates small GTPase RhoA, leading to retarded outgrowth when p75NTR is present. Colocalization of p75NTR and MAG binding is seen in neurons. Ganglioside GT1b, which is one of the binding partners of MAG, specifically associates with p75NTR. Thus, p75NTR and GT1b may form a receptor complex for MAG to transmit the inhibitory signals in neurons.

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