Zuo-Zhong Wang

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We determined the crystal structure of the extracellular domain of the mouse nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) alpha1 subunit bound to alpha-bungarotoxin at 1.94 A resolution. This structure is the first atomic-resolution view of a nAChR subunit extracellular domain, revealing receptor-specific features such as the main immunogenic region (MIR), the(More)
Motoneuron-derived agrin clusters nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) in mammalian muscle cells. We used two-hybrid screens to identify a protein, tumorous imaginal discs (Tid1), that binds to the cytoplasmic domain of muscle-specific kinase (MuSK), a major component of the agrin receptor. Like MuSK, Tid1 colocalizes with AChRs at developing, adult,(More)
At the developing neuromuscular junction, motor neuron-derived agrin triggers the differentiation of postsynaptic membrane into a highly specialized structure, where the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) are aggregated into high-density clusters. Agrin acts by activating the muscle-specific kinase MuSK and inducing coaggregation of the 43-kDa(More)
Surface expression of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (AChR) requires the assembly of multiple subunits in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Little is known, however, about the mechanism by which assembled receptor pentamers are transported to the cell membrane while unassembled subunits are retained in the ER. Here we report that a motif conserved in(More)
Neural agrin, an extracellular matrix protein secreted by motor neurons, plays a key role in clustering of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (AChR) on postsynaptic membranes of the neuromuscular junction. The action of agrin is critically dependent on an eight-amino acid insert (z8 insert) in the third of three consecutive laminin-like globular (G3) domains(More)
RIC-3 (resistant to inhibitor of cholinesterase) is a transmembrane protein, found in invertebrates and vertebrates, that modulates the surface expression of a variety of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in neurons and other cells. To understand its mechanism of action, we investigated the cellular location, transmembrane topology and cellular(More)
Myogenic regulatory factors (MRFs), muscle-specific transcription factors, are implicated in the activity-dependent regulation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (AChR) subunit genes. Here we show, with immunohistochemistry, Western blotting, and electron microscopy that MyoD, a member of the MRF family, also plays a role in fetal synapse formation. In the(More)
The alpha subunit of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (AChR) from Torpedo electric organ and mammalian muscle contains high affinity binding sites for alpha-bungarotoxin and for autoimmune antibodies in sera of patients with myasthenia gravis. To obtain sufficient materials for structural studies of the receptor-ligand complexes, we have expressed part(More)
Agrin isoforms with different bioactivities are synthesized by the nerve and the muscle. Neural agrin containing an 8-amino acid insert (z8) introduced by alternative splicing is the active form that induces synaptic differentiation at the neuromuscular junction. In addition to alternative splicing, extracellular calcium is also required for the activity of(More)
Neurotoxins from snake venoms act as potent antagonists on the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). Alpha-neurotoxins such as alpha-bungarotoxin (alpha-Btx) selectively bind to the skeletal muscle nAChRs among other subtypes, causing failure of the neuromuscular transmission. Through evolution, some species including snakes and mongoose have(More)
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