Researchers uncover new information on the effects of antide
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A new study published this week in Cell demonstrates that antidepressants bind directly to a brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) receptor known as tyrosine kinase receptor 2 (TrkB).

The study was conducted to know how the binding of antidepressant drugs to their targets gives rise to the clinical antidepressant effect.

Researchers discovered that the transmembrane domain of tyrosine kinase receptor 2 (TRKB), the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) receptor that promotes neuronal plasticity and antidepressant responses, has a cholesterol-sensing function that mediates synaptic effects of cholesterol.

They then found that both typical and fast-acting antidepressants directly bind to TRKB, thereby facilitating synaptic localization of TRKB and its activation by BDNF. Extensive computational approaches including atomistic molecular dynamics simulations revealed a binding site at the transmembrane region of TRKB dimers. Mutation of the TRKB antidepressant-binding motif impaired cellular, behavioral, and plasticity-promoting responses to antidepressants in vitro and in vivo.

In particular, binding to TRKB and allosteric facilitation of BDNF signaling is the common mechanism for antidepressant action, which may explain why typical antidepressants act slowly and how molecular effects of antidepressants are translated into clinical mood recovery.

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