Genetic knockout experiments reveal a role for the protein in forming and maintaining synapses between motor neurons and muscle fibers in mice.
Genetic knockout experiments reveal a role for the protein in forming and maintaining synapses between motor neurons and muscle fibers in mice.

Infographic: Vangl2 in Muscles Keeps Neuromuscular Junctions Organized

Genetic knockout experiments reveal a role for the protein in forming and maintaining synapses between motor neurons and muscle fibers in mice.

Catherine Offord
Catherine Offord

Catherine is a senior editor at The Scientist.

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Sep 12, 2022

ABOVE: © I. KAYAMA

In the normal development and maintenance of the neuromuscular junction (left), structural organization is maintained thanks to signaling by proteins such as muscle-specific kinase (MuSK), Vangl2, and Wnt ligands, researchers propose. In mice whose muscles don’t produce Vangl2 (right), junctions are instead disorganized. Compared with control animals, mice lacking muscle Vangl2 have more-dispersed postsynaptic acetylcholine receptors, muscles that are withdrawn, and a reduction in synaptic transmission. As a result, the muscles aren’t properly innervated and mice experience muscle weakness.

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