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Neuron. 1998 Feb;20(2):255-70.

A cysteine-rich isoform of neuregulin controls the level of expression of neuronal nicotinic receptor channels during synaptogenesis.

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  • 1The Center for Neurobiology and Behavior and the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York 10032, USA.

Erratum in

  • Neuron 1998 Apr;20(4):823.


We report here that neuregulin (NRG) isoforms with a conserved cysteine-rich domain (CRD) in their N terminus regulate expression of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) at developing interneuronal synapses and report the isolation of transmembrane NRG isoforms with this CRD within the N-terminal portion. CRD-NRG mRNA and immunoreactive protein are detected early in developing presynaptic (visceral motor) neurons. The levels of expression of CRD-NRG peak prior to the formation of synapses with their postsynaptic partners, the ganglionic sympathetic neurons. Recombinant CRD-NRG mimics the effects of presynaptic input on target neurons. Functional deletion of CRD-NRG from presynaptic neurons abolishes the upregulation of nAChR expression induced by input-derived soluble material. Thus, CRD-NRG appears to be both a necessary and a sufficient signal for the control of neuronal nAChR expression during synaptogenesis.

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