CNR - Institute of Neuroscience CNR
Institute of Neuroscience


Neuromuscular junction physiopathology

The neuromuscular junction (NMJ) is the target of various presynaptic neurotoxins produced by bacteria (botulinum neurotoxins produced by Clostridia) and by animals (latrotoxin from Latrodectus spiders and snake PLA2 neurotoxins (SPANs) from Elapidae). Moreover mechanical trauma can damage the NMJ. These pathologies (except that caused by botulinum toxin) are characterized by motoneuron terminal degeneration followed by recovery of NMJ functionality. Due to the relevance in human health we are working to clarify the molecular and cellular mechanisms of nerve terminal degeneration induced by these pathological agents and of the subsequent structural and functional regeneration.


The present project aims at:

  • a further understanding of the molecular mechanism of action of these three groups of neurotoxins
  • obtaining important information on the process of regeneration, in the belief that new and relevant information can be obtained on how a NMJ can regain its function after mechanical damage following trauma.


PI photo

Cesare Montecucco

Contact information

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Participating staff