Schwann cell-specific PTEN and EGFR dysfunctions affect neuromuscular junction development by impairing Agrin signaling and autophagy

Shi Jie Zhang, Xiao Xiao Li, Yuyu Yu, Amy P. Chiu, Lilian H. Lo, Jeffrey C. To, Dewi K. Rowlands, Vincent W. Keng (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The neuromuscular junction (NMJ) is formed by motor nerve terminals, post-junctional muscle membranes, and terminal Schwann cells (SCs). The formation of NMJ requires complex and dynamic molecular interactions. Nerve- and muscle-derived molecules have been well characterized but the mechanistic involvement of SC in NMJ development remains poorly understood. SC-specific phosphatase and tensin homolog (Pten) inactivation and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) overexpression (Dhh-Cre; Cnp-EGFR; Ptenflox/flox or DET) mice were used and NMJ malformation was observed in these mice. Acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) were distorted and varicose presynaptic nerve terminals appeared in the tibialis anterior (TA) muscle of DET mice. Agrin signaling related to NMJ development, was downregulated in TA muscle. Both RAS/MEK/ERK and PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathways were activated in the sciatic nerves of DET mice. In addition, autophagy was downregulated in these sciatic nerves. Interestingly, the use of Torin 2, an mTOR inhibitor, rescued the phenotype. The downregulated-autophagy might account for Agrin signaling abnormity, which induced NMJ malformation. Taken together, our results indicate that SCs-specific Pten and EGFR cooperation are essential for NMJ development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-56
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2019


  • EGFR
  • Neuromuscular junction
  • Pten
  • Schwann cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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