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Dev Biol. 1993 Jan;155(1):275-80.

43K protein and acetylcholine receptors colocalize during the initial stages of neuromuscular synapse formation in vivo.

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Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110.


The 43K protein is a cytoplasmic peripheral membrane protein concentrated subsynaptically in skeletal muscle. Recombinant 43K has been shown to cause clustering of acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) in cultured cells. However, the role of 43K in vivo is disputed, because in some cases it appears only after AChRs have clustered. We therefore examined the expression and distribution of 43K and AChRs during synapse formation in embryonic mouse muscles. Messenger RNA for 43K was detected on Embryonic Day (E) 12, a day prior to the first AChR clusters. Immunofluorescence showed that both AChRs and 43K were colocalized in patches by E13, the stage at which intramuscular nerves were first detected. The AChR/43K patches were nerve associated, and more than 98% of AChR patches were accompanied by 43K. The precise colocalization of 43K and AChRs persisted through development. These results are consistent with 43K being involved in the nerve-induced clustering of AChRs during synapse formation.

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