Lipid rafts serve as a signaling platform for nicotinic acetylcholine receptor clustering

Dan Zhu, Wen C. Xiong, Lin Mei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Agrin, a motoneuron-derived factor, and the muscle-specific receptor tyrosine kinase (MuSK) are essential for the acetylcholine receptor (AChR) clustering at the postjunctional membrane. However, the underlying signaling mechanisms remain poorly defined. We show that agrin stimulates a dynamic translocation of the AChR into lipid rafts-cholesterol and sphingolipid-rich microdomains in the plasma membrane. This follows MuSK partition into lipid rafts and requires its activation. Disruption of lipid rafts inhibits MuSK activation and downstream signaling and AChR clustering in response to agrin. Rapsyn, an intracellular protein necessary for AChR clustering, is located constitutively in lipid rafts, but its interaction with the AChR is inhibited when lipid rafts are perturbed. These results reveal that lipid rafts may regulate AChR clustering by facilitating the agrin/MuSK signaling and the interaction between the receptor and rapsyn, both necessary for AChR clustering and maintenance. These results provide insight into mechanisms of AChR cluster formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4841-4851
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number18
StatePublished - 2006


  • Agrin
  • Lipid rafts
  • Neuromuscular junction
  • Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors
  • Rapsyn
  • muSK

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Lipid rafts serve as a signaling platform for nicotinic acetylcholine receptor clustering'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this