The localization and translation of messenger RNA (mRNA) within dendrites is a specialized form of gene expression which enables neurons to locally manage information flow and provides a mechanism for the spatiotemporal regulation of structural synapse plasticity that contributes to learning and memory. The delivery of mRNA from the nucleus into dendrites involves complex formation between. cis-acting elements and numerous. trans-acting proteins, which display dynamic movements and play essential roles in the maintenance of several forms of synaptic plasticity in the mammalian brain. The diverse composition of these posttranscriptional operons is presented in the context of activity-regulated dendritic mRNA transport with regard to their role in synaptic plasticity and defects in their regulation that result in neuronal disease. An example of the analysis of rapid dendritic transport in living hippocampal neurons is presented that shows calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII)-alpha mRNA movements at rates tenfold greater than previously estimated using improved imaging techniques.
- CaMKII-alphaCytoskeletonDendritic mRNAGene expressionLive imagingMicrotubule transportNeuronal diseaseRNA-binding proteinSynaptic plasticityZipcode
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