The 43-kD protein is a peripheral membrane protein that is in approximately 1:1 stoichiometry with the acetylcholine receptor (AChR) in vertebrate muscle cells and colocalizes with it in the postsynaptic membrane. To investigate the role of the 43-kD protein in AChR clustering, we have isolated C2 muscle cell lines in which some cells overexpress the 43-kD protein. We find that myotubes with increased levels of the 43-kD protein have small AChR clusters and that those with the highest levels of expression have a drastically reduced number of clusters. Our results suggest that the 1:1 stoichiometry of AChR and 43-kD protein found in muscle cells is important for AChR cluster formation.

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