Targeting transcription to the neuromuscular synapse

Neuron. 2001 Jul 19;31(1):15-22. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(01)00353-1.


Concomitant with innervation, genes coding for components of the neuromuscular junction become exclusively expressed in subsynaptic nuclei. A six-base pair element, the N box, can confer synapse-specific transcription to the acetylcholine nicotinic receptor delta and epsilon subunit, utrophin, and acetylcholine esterase genes. N box-dependent synaptic expression is stimulated by the nerve-derived signal agrin and the trophic factor neuregulin, which triggers the MAPK and JNK signaling pathways, to ultimately allow activation by the N box binding Ets transcription factor GABP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholinesterase / genetics
  • Animals
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / physiology
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Neuromuscular Junction / physiology*
  • Protein Subunits
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / genetics
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • Utrophin


  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Protein Subunits
  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • Transcription Factors
  • Utrophin
  • Acetylcholinesterase