Research Article

Local protein synthesis is a ubiquitous feature of neuronal pre- and postsynaptic compartments

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Science  17 May 2019:
Vol. 364, Issue 6441, eaau3644
DOI: 10.1126/science.aau3644

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Local translation in presynaptic terminals

Proteins carry out most of the functions in cells, including neurons, which are one of the most morphologically complex cell types in the body. This poses challenges for how proteins can be supplied to remote regions where connections (synapses) are made with other neurons. One solution to the neuron protein-supply problem involves the local synthesis of proteins from messenger RNA (mRNA) molecules located at or near synapses. Hafner et al. used RNA sequencing methods and superresolution microscopy to show that axon terminals contain hundreds of mRNA molecules as well as the machinery needed for protein synthesis. Furthermore, the axon terminals were able to use these components to make proteins that participate in synaptic transmission.

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