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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2011, 12(12), 8924-8946; doi:10.3390/ijms12128924

The Wnt and BMP Families of Signaling Morphogens at the Vertebrate Neuromuscular Junction

Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology (LDNB), Department of Cell Biology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Concepcion, and CMA Bio-Bio, Concepcion 4089100, Chile
University of Michigan, 5211 Dental, Ann Arbor, Michigan, MI 48109, USA
Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Sciences, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Valparaiso 2340025, Chile
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 October 2011 / Revised: 18 November 2011 / Accepted: 22 November 2011 / Published: 5 December 2011
(This article belongs to the Section Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics)
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The neuromuscular junction has been extensively employed in order to identify crucial determinants of synaptogenesis. At the vertebrate neuromuscular synapse, extracellular matrix and signaling proteins play stimulatory and inhibitory roles on the assembly of functional synapses. Studies in invertebrate species have revealed crucial functions of early morphogens during the assembly and maturation of the neuromuscular junction. Here, we discuss growing evidence addressing the function of Wnt and Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling pathways at the vertebrate neuromuscular synapse. We focus on the emerging role of Wnt proteins as positive and negative regulators of postsynaptic differentiation. We also address the possible involvement of BMP pathways on motor neuron behavior for the assembly and/or regeneration of the neuromuscular junction.
Keywords: Wnt; BMP; neuromuscular junction Wnt; BMP; neuromuscular junction

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Henríquez, J.P.; Krull, C.E.; Osses, N. The Wnt and BMP Families of Signaling Morphogens at the Vertebrate Neuromuscular Junction. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2011, 12, 8924-8946.

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