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Neuron. 2001 Dec 6;32(5):815-28.

Alterations in transmission, vesicle dynamics, and transmitter release machinery at NCAM-deficient neuromuscular junctions.

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Department of Neurosciences, Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.


Although functional neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) form in NCAM-deficient mice, they exhibit multiple alterations in presynaptic organization and function. Profound depression and unusual periodic total transmission failures with repetitive stimulation point to a defect in vesicle mobilization/cycling, and these defects were mimicked in (+/+) NMJs by inhibitors of myosin light chain kinase, known to affect vesicle mobilization. Two separate release mechanisms, utilizing different endocytic machinery and Ca(2+) channels, were shown to coexist in (-/-) terminals, with the mature process targeted to presynaptic membrane opposed to muscle, and an abnormally retained immature process targeted to the remainder of the presynaptic terminal and axon. Thus, NCAM plays a critical and heretofore unsuspected role in the molecular organization of the presynaptic NMJ.

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