Glial cell line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF)
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Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and its three relatives constitute the GDNF family ligands. Other members of the GDNF family are neurturin, artemin and persephin. The GDNF family ligands belong to the TGF-beta superfamily, and share a similar conformation with other members of the TGF-beta superfamily. However, proteins of the GDNF family do not signal through TGF-beta receptors. They signal through a multimolecular protein complex that includes the RET receptor tyrosine kinase and receptors of the GFR-alpha family. NCAM may also act as a GDNF family receptor. These neurotrophic factors are essential for the development of a diverse set of neuronal populations, and have been shown to play a role in a number of biological processes including cell survival, cell differentiation and cell migration.