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Agrin Interactions at Neuromuscular Junction

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The development of the NMJ (Neuromuscular Junction) is triggered by agrin, a signaling factor that is deposited by the nerve terminal at the site of contact with the muscle cell. Motor neuron-derived agrin induces many aspects of synaptic differentiation and is required for the postsynaptic localization of many synapse-specific basal lamina, transmembrane, and cytoplasmic proteins. In addition, agrin is sufficient to induce aggregation of these synaptic proteins in muscle cells in vitro, or at ectopic sites on muscle fibers in vivo. Most notably, agrin induces a rapid aggregation of AChR (Acetylcholine Receptors), initially through a redistribution of preexisting receptors in the muscle membrane. This agrin-induced clustering of the neurotransmitter receptor allows functional, synaptic transmission from early stages of NMJ formation [...]


1.Neuregulin potentiates agrin-induced acetylcholine receptor clustering in myotubes.
Ngo ST, Balke C, Phillips WD, Noakes PG.
Neuroreport. 2004 Nov 15;15(16):2501-5.
2.Agrin promotes synaptic differentiation by counteracting an inhibitory effect of neurotransmitter.
Misgeld T, Kummer TT, Lichtman JW, Sanes JR.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Aug 2;102(31):11088-93. Epub 2005 Jul 25.
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