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Dok-7 is a cytoplasmic activator of muscle-specific receptor-tyrosine kinase (MuSK). Both Dok-7 and MuSK are required for neuromuscular synaptogenesis. Mutations in DOK7 underlie a congenital myasthenic syndrome (CMS) associated with small and simplified neuromuscular synapses likely due to impaired Dok-7/MuSK signaling. The overwhelming majority of patients with DOK7 CMS have at least one allele with a frameshift mutation that causes a truncation in the COOH-terminal region of Dok-7 and affects MuSK activation. Dok-7 has pleckstrin homology (PH) and phosphotyrosine binding (PTB) domains in the NH2-terminal moiety, both of which are indispensable for MuSK activation in myotubes, but little is known about additional functional elements. Here, we identify a chromosome region maintenance 1-dependent nuclear export signal (NES) in the COOH-terminal moiety and demonstrate that the NES-mediated cytoplasmic location of Dok-7 is essential for regulating the interaction with MuSK in myotubes. The NH2-terminal PH domain is responsible for the nuclear import of Dok-7. We also show that the Src homology 2 target motifs in the COOH-terminal moiety of Dok-7 are active and crucial for MuSK activation in myotubes. In addition, CMS-associated missense mutations found in the PH or PTB domain inactivate Dok-7. Together, these findings demonstrate that, in addition to the NH2-terminal PH and PTB domains, the COOH-terminal NES and Src homology 2 target motifs play key roles in Dok-7/MuSK signaling for neuromuscular synaptogenesis. Ablation or disruption of these functional elements in Dok-7 probably underlies the neuromuscular junction synaptopathy observed in DOK7 CMS.

Original publication




Journal article


J Biol Chem

Publication Date





5518 - 5524


Alleles, Amino Acid Motifs, Animals, Cell Line, Enzyme Activation, Frameshift Mutation, Humans, Mice, Muscle Fibers, Skeletal, Muscle Proteins, Myasthenia Gravis, Neuromuscular Junction, Nuclear Localization Signals, Protein Structure, Tertiary, Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases, Receptors, Cholinergic, Signal Transduction, Syndrome