Motor neurons influence the expression and the distribution of acetylcholine receptors in skeletal muscle. Molecules that mediate this carefully choreographed interaction have recently been identified. One of them, ARIA, is a polypeptide purified from chicken brain on the basis of its ability to stimulate the synthesis of muscle acetylcholine receptors. The predicted amino acid sequence suggests that ARIA is synthesized as a transmembrane precursor protein and that it is a member of a family of ligands that activate receptor tyrosine kinases related to the epidermal growth factor receptor. Certain features of the ligand family (the neuregulins) and their receptors (erbBs) are reviewed. Evidence that ARIA plays an important role at developing and mature neuromuscular junctions is discussed.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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