Background: Development of the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) isinitiated by the formation of postsynaptic specializations in the central zones of muscles, followed by the arrival of motor nerve terminals opposite the postsynaptic regions. The post- and presynaptic components are then stabilized and modified to form mature synapses. Roles of ADAM (A Disintegrin And Metalloprotease) family proteins in the formation of the NMJ have not been reported previously. Principal Findings: We report here that Meltrin β, ADAM19, participates in the formation of the NMJ. The zone of acetylcholine receptor α mRNA distribution was broader and excesss prouting of motor nerve terminals was more prominent in meltrin β-deficient than in wild-type embryonic diaphragms. A microarray analysis revealed that the preferential distribution of ephrin-A5 mRNA in the synaptic region of muscles was aberrant in the meltrin β-deficient muscles. Excess sprouting of motor nerve terminals was also found in ephrin-A5 knockout mice, which lead us to investigate a possible link between Meltrin β and ephrin-A5-Eph signaling in the development of the NMJ. Meltrin β and EphA4 interacted with each other in developing motor neurons, and both of these proteins localized in the NMJ. Coexpression of Meltrin β and EphA4 strongly blocked vesicular internalization of ephrin-A5-EphA4 complexes without requiring the protease activity of Meltrin β, suggesting a regulatory role of Meltrin β in ephrin-A5-Eph signaling. Conclusion: Meltrin β plays are gulatory role in formation of the NMJ. The endocytosis of ephrin-Eph complexes is required for efficient contact-dependent repulsion between ephrin and Eph. We propose that Meltrin β stabilizes the interaction between ephrin-A5 and EphA4 by regulating endocytosis of the ephrinA5-EphA complex negatively, which would contribute to the fine-tuning of the NMJ during development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)