Loss of correlated motor neuron activity during synaptic competition at developing neuromuscular synapses

Neuron. 2001 Aug 16;31(3):395-408. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(01)00369-5.


During late stages of neural development, synaptic circuitry is edited by neural activity. At neuromuscular synapses, the transition from multiple to single innervation is modulated by the relative pattern of activity among inputs competing for innervation of the same muscle fiber. While experimental perturbations of activity result in marked changes in the timing of neuromuscular synaptic competition, little is known about the patterns of activity present during normal development. Here, we report the temporal patterning of motor unit activity in the soleus muscle of awake, behaving neonatal mice, and that patterning is modulated by gap-junctional coupling. Our work suggests that neuromuscular synaptic competition is modulated by surprisingly low levels of activity and may be triggered by the disappearance of temporally correlated activity among inputs competing for innervation of the same muscle fiber.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Carbenoxolone / pharmacology
  • Electromyography
  • Gap Junctions / drug effects
  • Gap Junctions / physiology
  • Mice
  • Models, Neurological
  • Motor Neurons / drug effects
  • Motor Neurons / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / innervation*
  • Neuromuscular Junction / drug effects
  • Neuromuscular Junction / growth & development
  • Neuromuscular Junction / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology*


  • Carbenoxolone