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From NCBI Gene:
This gene encodes one of several proteins that are critical in the development of the neuromuscular junction (NMJ), as identified in mouse knock-out studies. The encoded protein contains several laminin G, Kazal type serine protease inhibitor, and epidermal growth factor domains. Additional post-translational modifications occur to add glycosaminoglycans and disulfide bonds. In one family with congenital myasthenic syndrome affecting limb-girdle muscles, a mutation in this gene was found. Alternative splicing results in multiple transcript variants encoding different isoforms. [provided by RefSeq, Mar 2015]
Isoform 2: transmembrane form that is the predominate form in neurons of the brain, induces dendritic filopodia and synapse formation in mature hippocampal neurons in large part due to the attached glycosaminoglycan chains and the action of Rho-family GTPases.
Isoform 1: heparan sulfate basal lamina glycoprotein that plays a central role in the formation and the maintenance of the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) and directs key events in postsynaptic differentiation. Component of the AGRN-LRP4 receptor complex that induces the phosphorylation and activation of MUSK. The activation of MUSK in myotubes induces the formation of NMJ by regulating different processes including the transcription of specific genes and the clustering of AChR in the postsynaptic membrane. Calcium ions are required for maximal AChR clustering. AGRN function in neurons is highly regulated by alternative splicing, glycan binding and proteolytic processing. Modulates calcium ion homeostasis in neurons, specifically by inducing an increase in cytoplasmic calcium ions. Functions differentially in the central nervous system (CNS) by inhibiting the alpha(3)-subtype of Na+/K+-ATPase and evoking depolarization at CNS synapses. This secreted isoform forms a bridge, after release from motor neurons, to basal lamina through binding laminin via the NtA domain.
Agrin N-terminal 110 kDa subunit: is involved in regulation of neurite outgrowth probably due to the presence of the glycosaminoglcan (GAG) side chains of heparan and chondroitin sulfate attached to the Ser/Thr- and Gly/Ser-rich regions. Also involved in modulation of growth factor signaling.
Isoform 3 and isoform 6: lack any 'z' insert, are muscle-specific and may be involved in endothelial cell differentiation.
Isoform 1, isoform 4 and isoform 5: neuron-specific (z+) isoforms that contain C-terminal insertions of 8-19 AA are potent activators of AChR clustering. Isoform 5, agrin (z+8), containing the 8-AA insert, forms a receptor complex in myotubules containing the neuronal AGRN, the muscle-specific kinase MUSK and LRP4, a member of the LDL receptor family. The splicing factors, NOVA1 and NOVA2, regulate AGRN splicing and production of the 'z' isoforms.
Agrin C-terminal 22 kDa fragment: this released fragment is important for agrin signaling and to exert a maximal dendritic filopodia-inducing effect. All 'z' splice variants (z+) of this fragment also show an increase in the number of filopodia.
Covered on Genetics Home Reference:
From NCBI Gene:
- Myasthenic syndrome, congenital, with pre- and postsynaptic defects
Myasthenic syndrome, congenital, 8 (CMS8): A form of congenital myasthenic syndrome, a group of disorders characterized by failure of neuromuscular transmission, including pre-synaptic, synaptic, and post-synaptic disorders that are not of autoimmune origin. Clinical features are easy fatigability and muscle weakness. CMS8 is an autosomal recessive disease characterized by prominent defects of both the pre- and postsynaptic regions. Affected individuals have onset of muscle weakness in early childhood; the severity of the weakness and muscles affected is variable. [MIM:615120]