The postsynaptic 43k protein clusters muscle nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in xenopus oocytes

Stanley C. Froehner, Charles W. Luetje, Paula B. Scotland, Jim Patrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

216 Scopus citations

Abstract

Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) are localized at high concentrations in the postsynaptic membrane of the neuromuscular junction. A peripheral membrane protein of Mr 43,000 (43K protein) is closely associated with AChRs and has been proposed to anchor receptors at postsynaptic sites. We have used the Xenopus oocyte expression system to test the idea that the 43K protein clusters AChRs. Mouse muscle AChRs expressed in oocytes after injection of RNA encoding receptor subunits are uniformly distributed in the surface membrane. Co-injection of AChR RNA and RNA encoding the mouse muscle 43K protein causes AChRs to form clusters of 0.5-1.5 μm diameter. AChR clustering is not a consequence of increased receptor expression in the surface membrane or nonspecific clustering of all membrane proteins. The 43K protein is colocalized with AChRs in clusters when the two proteins are expressed together and forms clusters of similar size even in the absence of AChRs. These results provide direct evidence that the 43K protein causes clustering of AChRs and suggest that regulation of 43K protein clustering may be a key step in neuromuscular synaptogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-410
Number of pages8
JournalNeuron
Volume5
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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