Glutamatergic neurons induce expression of functional glutamatergic synapses in primary myotubes

Michele Ettorre, Erika Lorenzetto, Claudia Laperchia, Cristina Baiguera, Caterina Branca, Manuela Benarese, PierFranco Spano, Marina Pizzi, Mario Buffelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The functioning of the nervous system depends upon the specificity of its synaptic contacts. The mechanisms triggering the expression of the appropriate receptors on postsynaptic membrane and the role of the presynaptic partner in the differentiation of postsynaptic structures are little known. Methods and Findings: To address these questions we cocultured murine primary muscle cells with several glutamatergic neurons, either cortical, cerebellar or hippocampal. Immunofluorescence and electrophysiology analyses revealed that functional excitatory synaptic contacts were formed between glutamatergic neurons and muscle cells. Moreover, immunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence experiments showed that typical anchoring proteins of central excitatory synapses coimmunoprecipitate and colocalize with rapsyn, the acetylcholine receptor anchoring protein at the neuromuscular junction. Conclusions: These results support an important role of the presynaptic partner in the induction and differentiation of the postsynaptic structures.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere31451
JournalPLoS One
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 9 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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