The N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors are involved in long-term potentiation (LTP), and are phosphorylated by several tyrosine kinases including a Src-family tyrosine kinase Fyn. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a neurotrophin, which also enhances hippocampal synaptic transmission and efficacy by increasing NMDA receptor activity. Here, we show that Fyn is a key molecule linking the BDNF receptor TrkB with NMDA receptors, which play an important role in spatial memory formation in a radial arm maze. Spatial learning induced phosphorylation of TrkB, Fyn, and NR2B, but not NR2A, in the hippocampus. Fyn was coimmunoprecipitated with TrkB and NR2B, and this association was increased in well-trained rats compared with control animals. Continuous intracerebroventricular infusion of PP2, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, in rats delayed memory acquisition in the radial arm maze, but PP2-treated animals reached the same level of learning as the controls. The phosphorylation of Fyn and NR2B, but not TrkB, was diminished by PP2 treatment. Our findings suggest the importance of interaction between BDNF/TrkB signaling and NMDA receptors for spatial memory in the hippocampus.
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