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Cell. 1996 May 17;85(4):513-23.

Agrin acts via a MuSK receptor complex.

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Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Tarrytown, New York 10591, USA.


Formation of th neuromuscular junction depends upon reciprocal inductive interactions between the developing nerve and muscle, resulting in the precise juxtaposition of a differentiated nerve terminal with a highly specialized patch on the muscle membrane, termed the motor endplate. Agrin is a nerve-derived factor that can induced molecular reorganizations at the motor endplate, but the mechanism of action of agrin remains poorly understood. MuSK is a receptor tyrosine kinase localized to the motor endplate, seemingly well positioned to receive a key nerve-derived signal. Mice lacking either agrin or MuSK have recently been generated and exhibit similarly profound defects in their neuromuscular junctions. Here we demonstrate that agrin acts via a receptor complex that includes MuSK as well as a myotube-specific accessory component.

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