Synapses Form in Skeletal Muscles Lacking Neuregulin Receptors

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Science  24 Jun 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5730, pp. 1920-1923
DOI: 10.1126/science.1108258

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The formation of the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) is directed by reciprocal interactions between motor neurons and muscle fibers. Neuregulin (NRG) and Agrin from motor nerve terminals are both implicated. Here, we demonstrate that NMJs can form in the absence of the NRG receptors ErbB2 and ErbB4 in mouse muscle. Postsynaptic differentiation is, however, induced by Agrin. We therefore conclude that NRG signaling to muscle is not required for NMJ formation. The effects of NRG signaling to muscle may be mediated indirectly through Schwann cells.

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