This gene encodes a member of the nerve growth factor family of proteins. Alternative splicing results in multiple transcript variants, at least one of which encodes a preproprotein that is proteolytically processed to generate the mature protein. Binding of this protein to its cognate receptor promotes neuronal survival in the adult brain. Expression of this gene is reduced in Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's disease patients. This gene may play a role in the regulation of the stress response and in the biology of mood disorders.