Acetylcholine receptor-aggregating factor is similar to molecules concentrated at neuromuscular junctions. Academic Article uri icon


  • The basal lamina in the synaptic cleft of the vertebrate skeletal neuromuscular junction contains molecules that direct the formation of synaptic specializations in regenerating axons and muscle fibres. We have undertaken a series of experiments aimed at identifying and characterizing the molecules responsible for the formation of one of these specializations, the aggregates of acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) in the muscle fibre plasma membrane. We began by preparing an insoluble, basal lamina-containing fraction from Torpedo californica electric organ, a tissue which has a far higher concentration of cholinergic synapses than muscle, and showing that this fraction caused AChRs on cultured chick myotubes to aggregate. A critical step is learning whether or not the electric organ factor is similar to the receptor-aggregating molecule in the basal lamina at the neuromuscular junction. The importance of this problem is emphasized by reports that clearly non-physiological agents, such as positively charged latex beads, can cause AChR aggregation on cultured muscle cells. We have already shown that Torpedo muscle contains an AChR-aggregating factor similar to that of electric organ, although in much lower amounts. Here we demonstrate, using monoclonal antibodies, that the AChR-aggregating factor in our extracts of electric organ is, in fact, antigenically related to molecules concentrated in the synaptic cleft at the neuromuscular junction.

published proceedings

  • Nature

author list (cited authors)

  • Fallon, J. R., Nitkin, R. M., Reist, N. E., Wallace, B. G., & McMahan, U. J.

citation count

  • 108

complete list of authors

  • Fallon, JR||Nitkin, RM||Reist, NE||Wallace, BG||McMahan, UJ

publication date

  • January 1985

published in