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Dev Biol. 1984 Jun;103(2):456-67.

Development of basal lamina in synaptic and extrasynaptic portions of embryonic rat muscle.


Each vertebrate skeletal muscle fiber is ensheathed by a basal lamina (BL) which passes through the synaptic cleft of the neuromuscular junction. In the adult, the synaptic portion of the BL is both functionally and chemically specialized. We have used an immunofluorescence method to compare the development of synaptic and extrasynaptic portions of BL in embryonic rat intercostal muscles. Immunohistochemical staining of adult muscle fibers with monoclonal and serum antibodies defines "synaptic" antigens (including acetylcholinesterase) that are concentrated in synaptic BL, "extrasynaptic" antigens that are concentrated in extrasynaptic regions, and "shared" antigens (including collagen IV, fibronectin, laminin, and a heparan sulfate proteoglycan) that are present in both synaptic and extrasynaptic BL ( Sanes and Chiu , 1983). Synapses appear on newly formed myotubes on embryonic Day 14 (E14; birth is on E22 ). Patches of BL that contain shared and extrasynaptic antigens are present on myotube surfaces by E15, and BL forms a continuous sheath by E17. Shared antigens are present at but not confined to synaptic areas by E15. Two synaptic antigens appear in synaptic areas a day later, and are not detectable extrasynaptically . At least one extrasynaptic antigen is present at immature synapses, and lost or masked by E19 . Thus synaptic BL is not assembled as a unit; rather, components are added, lost, or modified as synaptogenesis proceeds.

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