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Mol Cell Biol. 2002 Dec;22(23):8332-41.

Transport of fragile X mental retardation protein via granules in neurites of PC12 cells.

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  • 1CBG Department of Clinical Genetics. Department of Endocrinology and Reproduction, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Lack of fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) causes fragile X syndrome, a common form of inherited mental retardation. FMRP is an RNA binding protein thought to be involved in translation efficiency and/or trafficking of certain mRNAs. Recently, a subset of mRNAs to which FMRP binds with high affinity has been identified. These FMRP-associated mRNAs contain an intramolecular G-quartet structure. In neurons, dendritic mRNAs are involved in local synthesis of proteins in response to synaptic activity, and this represents a mechanism for synaptic plasticity. To determine the role of FMRP in dendritic mRNA transport, we have generated a stably FMR1-enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP)-transfected PC12 cell line with an inducible expression system (Tet-On) for regulated expression of the FMRP-GFP fusion protein. After doxycycline induction, FMRP-GFP was localized in granules in the neurites of PC12 cells. By using time-lapse microscopy, the trafficking of FMRP-GFP granules into the neurites of living PC12 cells was demonstrated. Motile FMRP-GFP granules displayed two types of movements: oscillatory (bidirectional) and unidirectional anterograde. The average velocity of the granules was 0.19 micro m/s with a maximum speed of 0.71 micro m/s. In addition, we showed that the movement of FMRP-GFP labeled granules into the neurites was microtubule dependent. Colocalization studies further showed that the FMRP-GFP labeled granules also contained RNA, ribosomal subunits, kinesin heavy chain, and FXR1P molecules. This report is the first example of trafficking of RNA-containing granules with FMRP as a core constituent in living PC12 cells.

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