MRF4 belongs to the basic helix-loop-helix class of transcription factors and this and other members of its family profoundly influence skeletal muscle development. Less is known about the role of these factors in aging. As MRF4 is preferentially expressed in subsynaptic nuclei, we postulated it might play a role in maintenance of the neuromuscular junction. To test this hypothesis, we examined the junctional regions of 19-20-month-old mice and found decreased levels of SV2B, a marker of synaptic vesicles, in MRF4-null mice relative to controls. There was a corresponding decrease in grip strength in MRF4-null mice. Taken together, these data suggest that the intrinsic muscle factor, MRF4 plays an important role in maintenance of neuromuscular junctions.
- basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor
- muscle regulatory factor
- neuromuscular junction
- skeletal muscle