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Science 308 (5730): 1920-1923

Copyright © 2005 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Synapses Form in Skeletal Muscles Lacking Neuregulin Receptors

P. Escher,1* E. Lacazette,1* M. Courtet,1 A. Blindenbacher,1 L. Landmann,2 G. Bezakova,3 K. C. Lloyd,4 U. Mueller,5 H. R. Brenner1{dagger}

Abstract: 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.

1 Institute of Physiology, Biozentrum, University of Basel, 4056 Basel, Switzerland.
2 Institute of Anatomy, Department of Clinical-Biological Sciences, Biozentrum, University of Basel, 4056 Basel, Switzerland.
3 Division of Pharmacology, Biozentrum, University of Basel, 4056 Basel, Switzerland.
4 Center for Comparative Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.
5 Department of Cell Biology and Institute for Childhood and Neglected Disease, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.

* These authors contributed equally to this work.

{dagger} To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: Hans-Rudolf.Brenner{at}unibas.ch

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