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Neurochem Res. 2002 Oct;27(10):1065-77.

Analysis of subcellularly localized mRNAs using in situ hybridization, mRNA amplification, and expression profiling.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania Medical School, Philadelphia 19104, USA.


Targeting of mRNAs to distinct subcellular regions occurs in all polarized cells. The mechanisms by which RNA transport occurs are poorly understood. With the advent of RNA amplification methodologies and expression profiling it is now possible to catalogue the RNAs that are targeted to particular subcellular regions. In particular, neurons are polarized cells in which dendrites receive signals from presynaptic neurons. Upon stimulation (information receipt) the dendrite processes the information such that an immediate dendritic response is generated as well as a longer-term somatic response. The integrated cellular response results in a signal that can be propagated through the axon to the next post-synaptic neuron. Much previous work has shown that mRNAs can be localized in dendrites and that local translation in dendrites can occur. In this chapter the methods for analysis of RNAs that are localized to dendrites are reviewed and a partial list of dendritically localized RNAs is presented. This information may be useful in identifying RNA regulatory regions that are responsible for specifying rate of RNA transport and the dendritic sites at which targeted RNAs dock so that they can be translated.

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