The Molecular Basis of Experience-Dependent Motor System Development
Neurons in the vertebrate nervous skystem acquire their mature features over an extended period in prenatal and early postnatal life. The interaction of the organism with its environment (“experience”) has been shown to profoundly influence sensory neuron development. Approximately, over the past two decades, it has become increasingly clear that motor system development is also experience dependent. Glutamate receptors of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) subtype have been implicated in both sensory and motor system experience-dependent development. An additional molecular mechanism involves the GluA1 subunit of the 2-amino-3-(5-methyl-3-oxo-1,2-oxazol-4-yl)propanoic acid (AMPA) subtype glutamate receptors. GluA1-dependent development operates in an NMDA-R-independent manner and uses a distinct set of signaling molecules. The synapse-associated protein of 97 kDa molecular weight (SAP97) is the key. A deeper understanding of how experiences guide motor system development may lead to new ways to improve function after central nervous system insult.
KeywordsGreen Fluorescent Protein Motor Neuron Dendrite Growth Dendritic Tree Segmental Spinal Cord
This work was supported in the past by the US Public Health Service (NS29837). We thank R. Sprengel, P Seeburg, and R. Huganir for several of the murine strains used in these studies.
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