In vitro studies have provided evidence that beta1 integrins in motor neurons promote neurite outgrowth, whereas beta1 integrins in myotubes regulate acetylcholine receptor (AChR) clustering. Surprisingly, using genetic studies in mice, we show here that motor axon outgrowth and neuromuscular junction (NMJ) formation in large part are unaffected when the integrin beta1 gene (Itgb1) is inactivated in motor neurons. In the absence of Itgb1 expression in skeletal muscle, interactions between motor neurons and muscle are defective, preventing normal presynaptic differentiation. Motor neurons fail to terminate their growth at the muscle midline, branch excessively, and develop abnormal nerve terminals. These defects resemble the phenotype of agrin-null mice, suggesting that signaling molecules such as agrin, which coordinate presynaptic and postsynaptic differentiation, are not presented properly to nerve terminals. We conclude that Itgb1 expression in muscle, but not in motor neurons, is critical for NMJ development.