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Cell Tissue Res. 1983;228(1):1-12.

Neural control of embryonic acetylcholine receptor and skeletal muscle.


The manner by which motor neurons exert control over the distribution and number of acetylcholine receptors, and muscle development was investigated in the superior oblique muscle of white Peking duck embryos. Clusters of receptors in the normally developing muscle first appeared on day 10 of incubation as determined with I125 alpha-bungarotoxin autoradiography. The initial appearance of receptor clusters coincided with the arrival of motor nerve fibers in the muscle. Clusters of receptors also appeared in normal fashion in muscles made aneural by destruction of motor neurons on day 7. But after day 14 these clusters had disappeared and no new clusters were seen thereafter in the aneural muscle. Receptor clusters persisted throughout development in muscle in which neuromuscular transmission was blocked with either curare or botulinum toxin and in muscles denervated on day 10.5, i.e., shortly after the initial nerve-muscle contact but prior to the onset of muscle activity. A progressive increase in the total number of receptors and in the total amount of protein occurred during the course of normal development. However, the specific activity of the receptor protein declined sharply following innervation on day 10. The total number of receptors and the specific activity of the receptor was affected depending on whether the motor neurons were destroyed before or after innervation and following chronic blockade of neuromuscular transmission. The half-life of the receptor protein was similar in normal, aneural, and paralyzed muscles (26, 25, 26 h, respectively). Measurements of total protein indicated that essentially no muscle growth occurred in the complete absence of innervation. Paralyzed muscles continued to develop but at a slower pace.

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