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.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.34). 08/2006; 26(30):7919-32. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1674-06.2006
Source: PubMed


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.

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    ABSTRACT: Long-term potentiation (LTP) remains the most widely accepted model for learning and memory. In accordance with this belief, the temporal differentiation of LTP into early and late phases is accepted as reflecting the differentiation of short-term and long-term memory. Moreover, during the past 30 years, protein synthesis inhibitors have been used to separate the early, protein synthesis-independent (E-LTP) phase and the late, protein synthesis-dependent (L-LTP) phase. However, the role of these proteins has not been formally identified. Additionally, several reports failed to show an effect of protein synthesis inhibitors on LTP. In this review, a detailed analysis of extensive behavioral and electrophysiological data reveals that the presumed correspondence of LTP temporal phases to memory phases is neither experimentally nor theoretically consistent. Moreover, an overview of the time courses of E-LTP in hippocampal slices reveals a wide variability ranging from <1 h to more than 5 h. The existence of all these conflictual findings should lead to a new vision of LTP. We believe that the E-LTP vs. L-LTP distinction, established with protein synthesis inhibitor studies, reflects a false dichotomy. We suggest that the duration of LTP and its dependency on protein synthesis are related to the availability of a set of proteins at synapses and not to the de novo synthesis of plasticity-related proteins. This availability is determined by protein turnover kinetics, which is regulated by previous and ongoing electrical activities and by energy store availability.
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    • "No effects were observed with the presentation of scrambled OGNs to either type of neuron. In another study (Garcia-Osta et al., 2006 ), intracerebral delivery of antisense OGN for a brain-expressed and muscle-specific tyrosine kinase receptor (MuSK) disrupted the ability of the local hippocampal network to generate theta activity in vitro. These results suggest that specific protein products of a neuron are a vital part of its ability to function on its own and within a network; inhibiting just one product can have devastating effects on electrical activity and responsiveness. "
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