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Cell. 1994 Jun 3;77(5):663-74.

A role for dystrophin-associated glycoproteins and utrophin in agrin-induced AChR clustering.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Stanford University, California 94305.


Synapse formation is characterized by the accumulation of molecules at the site of contact between pre- and postsynaptic cells. Agrin, a protein implicated in the regulation of this process, causes the clustering of acetylcholine receptors (AChRs). Here we characterize an agrin-binding site on the surface of muscle cells, show that this site corresponds to alpha-dystroglycan, and present evidence that alpha-dystroglycan is functionally related to agrin activity. Furthermore, we demonstrate that alpha-dystroglycan and adhalin, components of the dystrophin-associated glycoprotein complex, as well as utrophin, colocalize with agrin-induced AChR clusters. Thus, agrin may function by initiating or stabilizing a synapse-specific membrane cytoskeleton that in turn serves as a scaffold upon which synaptic molecules are concentrated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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