MuSK expressed in the brain mediates cholinergic responses, synaptic plasticity, and memory formation.

Department of Neuroscience, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York 10029, USA.
Journal of Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.91). 08/2006; 26(30):7919-32. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1674-06.2006
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Muscle-specific tyrosine kinase receptor (MuSK) has been believed to be mainly expressed and functional in muscle, in which it mediates the formation of neuromuscular junctions. Here we show that MuSK is expressed in the brain, particularly in neurons, as well as in non-neuronal tissues. We also provide evidence that MuSK expression in the hippocampus is required for memory consolidation, because temporally restricted knockdown after training impairs memory retention. Hippocampal disruption of MuSK also prevents the learning-dependent induction of both cAMP response element binding protein (CREB) phosphorylation and CCAAT enhancer binding protein beta (C/EBPbeta) expression, suggesting that the role of MuSK during memory consolidation critically involves the CREB-C/EBP pathway. Furthermore, we found that MuSK also plays an important role in mediating hippocampal oscillatory activity in the theta frequency as well as in the induction and maintenance of long-term potentiation, two synaptic responses that correlate with memory formation. We conclude that MuSK plays an important role in brain functions, including memory formation. Therefore, its expression and role are broader than what was believed previously.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Development of the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) requires secretion of specific isoforms of the proteoglycan agrin by motor neurons. Secreted agrin is widely expressed in the basal lamina of various tissues, whereas a transmembrane form is highly expressed in the brain. Expression in the brain is greatest during the period of synaptogenesis, but remains high in regions of the adult brain that show extensive synaptic plasticity. The well-established role of agrin in NMJ development and its presence in the brain elicited investigations of its possible role in synaptogenesis in the brain. Initial studies on the embryonic brain and neuronal cultures of agrin-null mice did not reveal any defects in synaptogenesis. However, subsequent studies in culture demonstrated inhibition of synaptogenesis by agrin antisense oligonucleotides or agrin siRNA. More recently, a substantial loss of excitatory synapses was found in the brains of transgenic adult mice that lacked agrin expression everywhere but in motor neurons. The mechanisms by which agrin influences synapse formation, maintenance and plasticity may include enhancement of excitatory synaptic signaling, activation of the "muscle-specific" receptor tyrosine kinase (MuSK) and positive regulation of dendritic filopodia. In this article I will review the evidence that agrin regulates synapse development, plasticity and signaling in the brain and discuss the evidence for the proposed mechanisms.
    Neurochemistry International 03/2012; · 2.66 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: ApoE, ApoE receptors and APP cooperate in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease. Intriguingly, the ApoE receptor LRP4 and APP are also required for normal formation and function of the neuromuscular junction (NMJ). In this study, we show that APP interacts with LRP4, an obligate co-receptor for muscle-specific tyrosine kinase (MuSK). Agrin, a ligand for LRP4, also binds to APP and co-operatively enhances the interaction of APP with LRP4. In cultured myotubes, APP synergistically increases agrin-induced acetylcholine receptor (AChR) clustering. Deletion of the transmembrane domain of LRP4 (LRP4 ECD) results in growth retardation of the NMJ, and these defects are markedly enhanced in APP(-/-);LRP4(ECD/ECD) mice. Double mutant NMJs are significantly reduced in size and number, resulting in perinatal lethality. Our findings reveal novel roles for APP in regulating neuromuscular synapse formation through hetero-oligomeric interaction with LRP4 and agrin and thereby provide new insights into the molecular mechanisms that govern NMJ formation and maintenance. DOI:
    eLife Sciences 01/2013; 2:e00220.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A newly formed memory is temporarily fragile and becomes stable through a process known as consolidation. Stable memories may again become fragile if retrieved or reactivated, and undergo a process of reconsolidation to persist and strengthen. Both consolidation and reconsolidation require an initial phase of transcription and translation that lasts for several hours. The identification of the critical players of this gene expression is key for understanding long-term memory formation and persistence. In rats, the consolidation of inhibitory avoidance (IA) memory requires gene expression in both the hippocampus and amygdala, two brain regions that process contextual/spatial and emotional information, respectively; IA reconsolidation requires de novo gene expression in the amygdala. Here we report that, after IA learning, the levels of the transcription factor CCAAT enhancer binding protein δ (C/EBPδ) are significantly increased in both the hippocampus and amygdala. These increases are essential for long-term memory consolidation, as their blockade via antisense oligodeoxynucleotide-mediated knockdown leads to memory impairment. Furthermore, C/EBPδ is upregulated and required in the amygdala for IA memory reconsolidation. C/EBPδ is found in nuclear, somatic, and dendritic compartments, and a dendritic localization of C/EBPδ mRNA in hippocampal neuronal cultures suggests that this transcription factor may be translated at synapses. Finally, the induction of long-term potentiation at CA3-CA1 synapses by tetanic stimuli in acute slices, a cellular model of long-term memory, leads to an accumulation of C/EBPδ in the nucleus. We conclude that the transcription factor C/EBPδ plays a critical role in memory consolidation and reconsolidation.
    Journal of Neuroscience 02/2013; 33(8):3646-58. · 6.91 Impact Factor