Document Type


Publication Date



Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disorder of the neuromuscular junction manifested as fatigable muscle weakness, which is typically caused by pathogenic autoantibodies against postsynaptic CHRN/ AChR (cholinergic receptor nicotinic) in the endplate of skeletal muscle. Our previous studies have identified CA3 (carbonic anhydrase 3) as a specific protein insufficient in skeletal muscle from myasthenia gravis patients. In this study, we investigated the underlying mechanism of how CA3 insufficiency might contribute to myasthenia gravis. Using an experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis animal model and the skeletal muscle cell C2C12, we find that inhibition of CAR3 (the mouse homolog of CA3) promotes CHRN internalization via a lipid raft-mediated pathway, leading to accelerated degradation of postsynaptic CHRN. Activation of CAR3 reduces CHRN degradation by suppressing receptor endocytosis. CAR3 exerts this effect by suppressing chaperone-assisted selective autophagy via interaction with BAG3 (BCL2- associated athanogene 3) and by dampening endoplasmic reticulum stress. Collectively, our study illustrates that skeletal muscle cell CAR3 is critical for CHRN homeostasis in the neuromuscular junction, and its deficiency leads to accelerated degradation of CHRN and development of myasthenia gravis, potentially revealing a novel therapeutic approach for this disorder.


This article was originally published in Autophagy, volume 13, issue 11, in 2017. DOI: 10.1080/15548627.2017.1375633


The authors

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.