CELLULAR NEUROSCIENCE

Location, location, location

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Science  08 Feb 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6427, pp. 596
DOI: 10.1126/science.363.6427.596-a

Because neurons are so long, protein translation occurs far from the nucleus in the axon.

PHOTO: MICHAEL ABBEY/SCIENCE SOURCE

Neurons are composed of a cell body decorated with long processes—the dendrites and the axon. The normal maintenance of functions in the axon requires it to perform processes normally associated with events in the nucleus, which, in neurons, is quite distant. Cioni et al. studied local translation of proteins in the axons of retinal ganglion cells. They found that RNA granules were associated with late endosomes and ribosomes. Furthermore, they observed these endosomes “pausing” close to axonal mitochondria. These interactions may be important in regulating the supply of key proteins for maintaining healthy axons. Indeed, the neuropathological mutations associated with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease disrupt axonal translation and damage axonal mitochondria.

Cell 176, 56 (2019).

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