Programmed cell death 4 as an endogenous suppressor of BDNF translation is involved in stress-induced depression.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a growth factor that plays vital roles in the neuron survival, growth, and neuroplasticity. Alteration to BDNF expression is associated with major depressive disorder. However, the BDNF translational machinery in depression remains unknown. Herein, we pointed that Pdcd4, a suppressor oncogene, acted as an endogenous inhibitor for the translation of BDNF, and selectively repressed the translation of BDNF splice variant IIc mRNA in an eIF4A-dependent manner. Chronic restraint stress (CRS) up-regulated Pdcd4 expression in hippocampus via decreasing mTORC1-mediated proteasomes degradation pathway, which resulted in the reduction of BDNF protein expression. Moreover, over-expression of Pdcd4 in the hippocampus triggered spontaneous depression-like behaviors under the non-stressed conditions in mice, while systemic or neuron-specific knockout of Pdcd4 reverses CRS-induced depression-like behaviors. Importantly, administration of Pdcd4 siRNA or an interfering peptide that interrupts the Pdcd4-eIF4A complex substantially promoted BDNF expression and rescued the behavioral disorders which were caused by CRS. Overall, we have discovered a previously unrecognized role of Pdcd4 in controlling BDNF mRNA translation, and provided a new method that boosting BDNF expression through blocking the function of Pdcd4 in depression, indicating that Pdcd4 might be a new potential target for depressive disorder therapy.