The TrkA receptor tyrosine kinase is crucial for differentiation and survival of nerve-growth-factor-dependent neurons. Paradoxically, TrkA also induces cell death in pediatric tumor cells of neural origin, via an unknown mechanism. Here, we show that CCM2, a gene product associated with cerebral cavernous malformations, interacts with the juxtamembrane region of TrkA via its phosphotyrosine binding (PTB) domain and mediates TrkA-induced death in diverse cell types. Both the PTB and Karet domains of CCM2 are required for TrkA-dependent cell death, such that the PTB domain determines the specificity of the interaction, and the Karet domain links to death pathways. Downregulation of CCM2 in medulloblastoma or neuroblastoma cells attenuates TrkA-dependent death. Combined high expression levels of CCM2 and TrkA are correlated with long-term survival in a large cohort of human neuroblastoma patients. Thus, CCM2 is a key mediator of TrkA-dependent cell death in pediatric neuroblastic tumors.

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