Proteoglycans have been implicated in the clustering of acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) on cultured myotubes and at the neuromuscular junction. We report that the presence of chondroitin sulfate is associated with the ability of cultured myotubes to form spontaneous clusters of AChRs. Three experimental manipulations of wild type C2 cells in culture were found to affect both glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and AChR clustering in concert. Chlorate was found to have dose‐dependent negative effects both on GAG sulfation and on the frequency of AChR clusters. When extracellular calcium was raised from 1.8 to 6.8 mM in cultures of wild‐type C2 myotubes, increases were observed both in the level of cell layer‐associated chondroitin sulfate and in the frequency of AChR clusters. Culture of wild‐type C2 myotubes in the presence of chondroitinase ABC eliminated cell layer‐associated chondroitin sulfate while leaving heparan sulfate intact and simultaneously prevented the formation of AChR clusters. Treatment with either chlorate or chondroitinase inhibited AChR clustering only if begun prior to the spontaneous formation of clusters. We propose that chondroitin sulfate plays an essential role in the initiation of AChR clustering and in the early events of synapse formation on muscle. © 1995 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- acetylcholine receptor
- chondroitin sulfate
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience