The effect of nerve growth factor (NGF) was assessed in Xenopus oocytes expressing the human trk proto-oncogene product, p140prototrk. Oocytes injected with trk messenger RNA expressed polypeptides recognized by antibodies to the trk gene product. Exposure of these oocytes to nanomolar amounts of NGF resulted in specific surface binding of 125I-labeled NGF, tyrosine phosphorylation of p140prototrk, and meiotic maturation, as determined by germinal vesicle breakdown and maturation promoting factor (p34cdc2) kinase activation. Thus the trk proto-oncogene product can act as a receptor for NGF in a functionally productive manner.
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