Molecular Biology of Neuromuscular Transmission
The area of contact between the α-motorneuron and the skeletal muscle fiber is a highly ordered structure. The neuromuscular junction (NMJ) is comprised of a pre-synaptic nerve terminal and a high density array of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (AChR) and other elements such as voltage-gated sodium channels, acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and the muscle cytoskeleton that organize the post-synaptic muscle membrane. In between these two components is the extracellular matrix which fills the synaptic space between the two. Significant progress has been made in the last decade to identify and understand the molecular elements that populate the neuromuscular junction and participate in establishing and maintaining its complex structure. This review will focus on some of these new molecular details, especially as it relates to the temporal and functional differences in the expression of the two forms of the AChR.
KeywordsAcetylcholine Receptor Neuromuscular Junction Muscle Membrane High Density Array Depolarize Muscle Relaxant
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 2.Bevan S and Steinbach JH. The distribution of α-bungarotoxin binding sites on mammalian skeletal muscle developing in vivo. J Physio 267:195–213, 1977.Google Scholar
- 4.Patterson PH. Neuron-target Interactions in Molecular Neurobiology ed ZW Hall, Sinauer Associates, Inc. Sunderland, MA 1992, pp 428–63.Google Scholar