The maintenance of postsynaptic acetylcholine receptors at high density clusters is critical for the effectiveness of synaptic transmission at th neuromuscular junction. Recent work from our lab has unexpectedly identified a new and important role for akap, a non-kinase anchoring protein, which is encoded within the calcium/calmodulin kinase II ? gene. We showed that ?kap protects acetylcholine receptors from degradation while in the secretory pathway. In both cultured muscle and heterologous cells the protective effect of ?kap is mediated by an ubiquitin dependent mechanism. In view of these results, we propose to study whether ?kap can protect AChR in living mice and determine the mechanistic link between ?kap and receptor stability. Using in vivo time-lapse imaging, quantitative fluorescence imaging, and electroporation approaches, the first specific aim will test whether the knockdown of ?kap in muscles of living wild type mice can alter the density, number or distribution of AChR. Conversely, we will test whether the overexpression of ?kap can rescue the drastically reduced levels of AChRs at the NMJs of ?-syntrophin and ?-dystrobrevin knockout mice and in surgically denervated muscles. The outcomes of these studies will provide new insight into mechanisms that can enhance the number of AChRs at synapses and will be relevant for many neuromuscular synapses where the number and density are compromised by diseases. Finally, this R21 project will establish the groundwork for future studies of how ?kap regulates the trafficking and stability of AChR or other associated proteins at the NMJ.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Neurodifferentiation, Plasticity, and Regeneration Study Section (NDPR)
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Gubitz, Amelie
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University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Schools of Arts and Sciences
Ann Arbor
United States
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Aittaleb, Mohamed; Martinez-Pena Y Valenzuela, Isabel; Akaaboune, Mohammed (2017) Spatial distribution and molecular dynamics of dystrophin glycoprotein components at the neuromuscular junction in vivo. J Cell Sci 130:1752-1759
Chen, Po-Ju; Martinez-Pena Y Valenzuela, Isabel; Aittaleb, Mohamed et al. (2016) AChRs Are Essential for the Targeting of Rapsyn to the Postsynaptic Membrane of NMJs in Living Mice. J Neurosci 36:5680-5
Aittaleb, Mohamed; Chen, Po-Ju; Akaaboune, Mohammed (2015) Failure of lysosome clustering and positioning in the juxtanuclear region in cells deficient in rapsyn. J Cell Sci 128:3744-56
Martinez-Pena Y Valenzuela, Isabel; Aittaleb, Mohamed; Chen, Po-Ju et al. (2015) The knockdown of ?kap alters the postsynaptic apparatus of neuromuscular junctions in living mice. J Neurosci 35:5118-27
Brenner, Hans Rudolf; Akaaboune, Mohammed (2014) Recycling of acetylcholine receptors at ectopic postsynaptic clusters induced by exogenous agrin in living rats. Dev Biol 394:122-8