Messeant, et al. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2015.
Nerve cells talk to muscles at sites called neuromuscular junctions, as shown in this image from an embryonic mouse. During development, nerve cell axons (yellow) find their way to muscle cell receptors (blue). But sometimes this process goes awry, like in congenital myasthenia, an inherited disorder where nerve cells have trouble communicating with muscles, leading to fatigue and weakness. Scientists are studying the molecular signals that guide the formation of neuromuscular junctions in the hopes of finding ways to restore these connections in congenital myasthenia and other disorders.