Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Clue To Muscular Dystrophy Uncovered: Mediator In Communication Between Neurons And Muscle Cells Found

Date:
October 27, 2008
Source:
Medical College of Georgia
Summary:
A missing piece of the puzzle of how neurons and muscle cells establish lifelong communication has been found by researchers who suspect this piece may be mutated and/or attacked in muscular dystrophy.

Much as a friend gets two other friends together, MCG researchers have found that agrin starts talking with LRP4, a protein also on the muscle cell surface, then recruits MuSK to join the conversation.
Credit: Image courtesy of Medical College of Georgia

A missing piece of the puzzle of how neurons and muscle cells establish lifelong communication has been found by researchers who suspect this piece may be mutated and/or attacked in muscular dystrophy.

Related Articles


Agrin is a protein that motor neurons release to direct construction of the nerve-muscle contact or synapse. MuSK on the muscle cell surface initiates critical internal cell talk so synapses can form and receptors that enable specific commands will cluster at just the right spot.

The conundrum was agrin and MuSK don't directly communicate, explains Dr. Lin Mei, chief of developmental neurobiology at the Medical College of Georgia and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Neuroscience.

Much as a friend gets two other friends together, MCG researchers have found that agrin starts talking with LRP4, a protein also on the muscle cell surface, then recruits MuSK to join the conversation. LRP4 and MuSK become major components of the receptor needed for the muscle cell to receive the message agrin is sending, says Dr. Bin Zhang, postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Mei's lab and first author on the paper published in the Oct. 23 issue of the journal Neuron.

"We know agrin is important and we know MuSK is important. The puzzle or greatest gap in this field for a long time is there was no evidence these two would shake hands but they must have each other," says Dr. Mei, corresponding author. "This paper shows that this protein, LRP4, forms a nice bridge between the two and solves this long puzzle."

The agrin-MuSK signaling pathway has been implicated in muscular dystrophy, a group of genetic diseases that lead to loss of muscle control because of problems with neurons, muscle cells and/or their communication. Some reports have implicated a mutant MuSK as a cause of muscular dystrophy and autoantibodies (antibodies the body makes against itself) to MuSK have been found in the blood of some patients.

Now that researchers know LRP4's critical role, they will look in patient samples where they suspect they also will find mutant forms and autoantibodies to it as well, Dr. Zhang says. They'll also look to see if LRP4 has a role in later development and maintenance of the neuromuscular junction.

In research published in the Oct. 9 issue of Neuron, the same research team used the neuromuscular junction to identify Hsp90β as a stabilizing protein that helps receptors on muscle cells get and stay where needed to catch a neuron's signal. This process showed the need for teamwork as well since rapsyn, a protein responsible for anchoring the receptor, is oddly unstable. They showed Hsp90β gives rapsyn needed stability.

The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Medical College of Georgia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Medical College of Georgia. "New Clue To Muscular Dystrophy Uncovered: Mediator In Communication Between Neurons And Muscle Cells Found." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081022135807.htm>.
Medical College of Georgia. (2008, October 27). New Clue To Muscular Dystrophy Uncovered: Mediator In Communication Between Neurons And Muscle Cells Found. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081022135807.htm
Medical College of Georgia. "New Clue To Muscular Dystrophy Uncovered: Mediator In Communication Between Neurons And Muscle Cells Found." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081022135807.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins