Absence of -Syntrophin Leads to Structurally Aberrant Neuromuscular Synapses Deficient in Utrophin

Department of Cell and Molecular Physiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7545, USA.
The Journal of Cell Biology (Impact Factor: 9.83). 10/2000; 150(6):1385-98. DOI: 10.1083/jcb.150.6.1385
Source: PubMed


The syntrophins are a family of structurally related proteins that contain multiple protein interaction motifs. Syntrophins associate directly with dystrophin, the product of the Duchenne muscular dystrophy locus, and its homologues. We have generated alpha-syntrophin null mice by targeted gene disruption to test the function of this association. The alpha-Syn(-/)- mice show no evidence of myopathy, despite reduced levels of alpha-dystrobrevin-2. Neuronal nitric oxide synthase, a component of the dystrophin protein complex, is absent from the sarcolemma of the alpha-Syn(-/)- mice, even where other syntrophin isoforms are present. alpha-Syn(-/)- neuromuscular junctions have undetectable levels of postsynaptic utrophin and reduced levels of acetylcholine receptor and acetylcholinesterase. The mutant junctions have shallow nerve gutters, abnormal distributions of acetylcholine receptors, and postjunctional folds that are generally less organized and have fewer openings to the synaptic cleft than controls. Thus, alpha-syntrophin has an important role in synapse formation and in the organization of utrophin, acetylcholine receptor, and acetylcholinesterase at the neuromuscular synapse.

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    • "Similarly, the absence of associated proteins can cause changes in structure, and without exception, the motor endplate is noticeably disrupted in patients with DMD and mdx mice (Kong and Anderson, 1999; Adams et al., 2000; Marques et al., 2004; Banks et al., 2009; Chipman et al., 2010; Kulakowski et al., 2011). Patients with DMD and mdx mice also have increased susceptibility to injury compared to their non-dystrophic counterparts. "
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