Members of the glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) family, including GDNF and neurturin (NTN)1, play key roles in the control of vertebrate neuron survival and differentiation. Physiological responses to NTN require the presence of a novel glycosylphosphadidylinositol linked protein NTNR , which is a cell surface receptor for NTN2,3. The cDNAs encoding NTNR from human, rat, chicken, and mouse have been cloned recently2-7. NTNR was also termed GDNFR , Ret ligand 2 (RETL2) or TGF- -related neurotrophic factor receptor 2 (TrnR2)4-7 and nominated as GFR -2 recently8. GFR -2 binds NTN and mediates activation of RET receptor tyrosine kinase by both NTN and GDNF. Thus, NTN, GFR -2, and the Ret PTK form a complex to transduce NTN signal and to mediate NTN function.
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