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Deficient development and maintenance of postsynaptic specializations in mutant mice lacking an 'adult' acetylcholine receptor subunit


Deficient development and maintenance of postsynaptic specializations in mutant mice lacking an 'adult' acetylcholine receptor subunit



Development 124(24): 5075-5086



ISSN/ISBN: 0950-1991

PMID: 9362465

At many synapses, 'fetal' neurotransmitter receptor subunits are replaced by 'adult' subunits as development proceeds. To assess the significance of such transitions, we deleted the gene encoding the adult acetylcholine receptor (AChR) epsilon subunit, which replaces its fetal counterpart, the gamma subunit, at the skeletal neuromuscular junction during early postnatal life. Several aspects of postnatal maturation, including synapse elimination, proceeded normally in the absence of the adult AChR, but structural development of the endplate was compromised. Later, inadequate compensation by the gamma subunit led to severely reduced AChR density in mutant endplates relative to controls. This decreased density led to a profound reorganization of AChR-associated components of the postsynaptic membrane and cytoskeleton. Together, these results suggest novel roles for AChRs in assembly of the postsynaptic apparatus.

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Accession: 008423997

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