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J Neurosci. 1997 Jun 15;17(12):4722-33.

RNA transport in dendrites: a cis-acting targeting element is contained within neuronal BC1 RNA.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, State University of New York, Health Science Center at Brooklyn, Brooklyn, New York 11203, USA.


In nerve cells, a select group of RNAs has been localized to dendritic domains. Here we have examined dendritic RNA transport in sympathetic neurons in primary culture, using a microinjection protocol with neuronal BC1 RNA and with BC1-derived sequence segments. After cytoplasmic microinjection, full-length BC1 RNA was selectively transported to dendrites; in contrast, control RNAs such as nuclear RNAs and random-sequence irrelevant RNAs remained restricted to cytoplasmic areas proximal to the injection sites. Chimeric RNAs were constructed that contained the full-length BC1 sequence inserted upstream or downstream of the coding regions of nondendritic mRNAs. After microinjection, such chimeric RNAs were specifically targeted to dendrites; microinjected corresponding nonchimeric mRNAs were not. Dendritic transport of BC1 RNA was rapid: the average dendritic delivery rate within the first hour after microinjection was 242 +/- 25 microm/hr. Whereas a 5'-BC1 segment of 62 nucleotides was transported to dendrites to extents and at levels similar to full-length BC1 RNA, a 3'-BC1 segment of 60 nucleotides did not exit injected somata to any significant degree. A cis-acting dendritic targeting element is thus contained in the 5' part of neuronal BC1 RNA. These results demonstrate that mechanisms exist in neurons for fast and specific transport of selected RNAs to dendrites.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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