Learn More
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a major genetic cause of death in childhood characterized by marked muscle weakness. To investigate mechanisms underlying motor impairment in SMA, we examined the spinal and neuromuscular circuitry governing hindlimb ambulatory behavior in SMA model mice (SMNΔ7). In the neuromuscular circuitry, we found that nearly all(More)
The active zone is a unique presynaptic membrane specialization that is believed to be the site of neurotransmitter release. To examine directly the relationship between active zone ultrastructure and synaptic efficacy, frog neuromuscular junctions were studied with a new technique combining electrophysiology, light microscopy, and freeze-fracture of(More)
This study aimed to examine changes of presynaptic voltage-sensitive calcium channel (VSCC) subtypes during synapse formation and regeneration in relation to transmitter release at the neuromuscular junction (NMJ). Synaptic potentials were recorded from developing rat NMJs and from regenerating mouse and frog NMJs. As in normal adult NMJs, evoked(More)
Recent studies suggest that glial cells actively participate in the formation, function, maintenance, and repair of the chemical synapse. However, the molecular mechanisms of glia-synapse interactions are largely unknown. We have shown previously that Schwann cell-conditioned medium (SC-CM) promotes synaptogenesis in Xenopus nerve-muscle cocultures. The(More)
Emerging evidence suggests that the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh) negatively regulates the development of the neuromuscular junction, but it is not clear if ACh exerts its effects exclusively through muscle ACh receptors (AChRs). Here, we used genetic methods to remove AChRs selectively from muscle. Similar to the effects of blocking ACh(More)
To investigate the in vivo role of glial cells in synaptic function, maintenance, and development, we have developed an approach to selectively ablate perisynaptic Schwann cells (PSCs), the glial cells at the neuromuscular junction (NMJ), en masse from live frog muscles. In adults, following acute PSC ablation, synaptic structure and function were not(More)
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a motoneuron disease caused by a deficiency of the survival of motor neuron (SMN) protein, is characterized by motoneuron loss and muscle weakness. It remains unclear whether widespread loss of neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) is involved in SMA pathogenesis. We undertook a systematic examination of NMJ innervation patterns in(More)
To explore novel roles of glial cells in synaptic function and formation, we examined the expression of agrin in frog Schwann cells and tested their role in the aggregation of acetylcholine receptors (AChRs). Using reverse transcription-PCR, we found that Schwann cells along nerve fibers in tadpoles expressed only the inactive agrin isoform B0 but began to(More)
Development of the presynaptic active zone was studied at neuromuscular junctions with freeze-fracture electron microscopy in larval and adult bullfrogs. In rudimentary larval neuromuscular junctions, clusters of active zone particles were scattered over the P-face of the presynaptic membrane. Vesicle openings were observed at these terminals even though(More)
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a genetic disease caused by mutation or deletion of the survival of motor neuron 1 (SMN1) gene. A paralogous gene in humans, SMN2, produces low, insufficient levels of functional SMN protein due to alternative splicing that truncates the transcript. The decreased levels of SMN protein lead to progressive neuromuscular(More)