The Journal of cell biology

{alpha}-Syntrophin regulates ARMS localization at the neuromuscular junction and enhances EphA4 signaling in an ARMS-dependent manner.

PMID 15939763


EphA4 signaling has recently been implicated in the regulation of synapse formation and plasticity. In this study, we show that ankyrin repeat-rich membrane spanning (ARMS; also known as a kinase D-interacting substrate of 220 kD), a substrate for ephrin and neurotrophin receptors, was expressed in developing muscle and was concentrated at the neuromuscular junction (NMJ). Using yeast two-hybrid screening, we identified a PDZ (PSD-95, Dlg, ZO-1) domain protein, alpha-syntrophin, as an ARMS-interacting protein in muscle. Overexpression of alpha-syntrophin induced ARMS clustering in a PDZ domain-dependent manner. Coexpression of ARMS enhanced EphA4 signaling, which was further augmented by the presence of alpha-syntrophin. Moreover, the ephrin-A1-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of EphA4 was reduced in C2C12 myotubes after the blockade of ARMS and alpha-syntrophin expression by RNA interference. Finally, alpha-syntrophin-null mice exhibited a disrupted localization of ARMS and EphA4 at the NMJ and a reduced expression of ARMS in muscle. Altogether, our findings suggest that ARMS may play an important role in regulating postsynaptic signal transduction through the syntrophin-mediated localization of receptor tyrosine kinases such as EphA4.