Agrin orchestrates synaptic differentiation at the vertebrate neuromuscular junction

Markus A. Ruegg, John Bixby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

143 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The synapse is a key structure that is involved in perception, learning and memory. Understanding the sequence of steps that is involved in establishing synapses during development might also help to understand mechanisms that cause changes in synapses during learning and memory. For practical reasons, most of our current knowledge of synapse development is derived from studies of the vertebrate neuromuscular junction (NMJ). Several lines of evidence strongly suggest that motor axons release the molecule agrin to induce the formation of the postsynaptic apparatus in muscle fibers. Recent advances implicate proteins such as dystroglycan, MUSK, and rapsyn in the transduction of agrin signals. Recently, additional functions of agrin have been discovered, including the upregulation of gene transcription in myonuclei and the control of presynaptic differentiation. Agrin therefore appears to play a unique role in controlling synaptic differentiation on both sides of the NMJ.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-27
Number of pages6
JournalTrends in Neurosciences
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

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Agrin
Neuromuscular Junction
Synapses
Vertebrates
Learning
Dystroglycans
Axons
Signal Transduction
Up-Regulation
Muscles
Genes
Proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Agrin orchestrates synaptic differentiation at the vertebrate neuromuscular junction. / Ruegg, Markus A.; Bixby, John.

In: Trends in Neurosciences, Vol. 21, No. 1, 01.01.1998, p. 22-27.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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