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Curr Biol. 2001 Mar 6;11(5):351-5.

Evidence for a satellite secretory pathway in neuronal dendritic spines.

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Division of Neurobiology, Department of Neurology and Neuroscience, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, 411 East 69th Street, New York, NY 10021, USA.


Long-term information storage within the brain requires the synthesis of new proteins and their use in synapse-specific modifications [1]. Recently, we demonstrated that translation sites for the local synthesis of integral membrane and secretory proteins occur within distal dendritic spines [2]. It remains unresolved, however, whether a complete secretory pathway, including Golgi and trans Golgi network-like membranes, exists near synapses for the local transport and processing of newly synthesized proteins. Here, we report evidence of a satellite secretory pathway in distal dendritic spines and distal dendrites of the mammalian brain. Membranes analogous to early (RER and ERGIC), middle (Golgi cisternae), and late (TGN) secretory pathway compartments are present within dendritic spines and in distal dendrites. Local synthesis, processing, and transport of newly translated integral membrane and secretory proteins may thus provide the molecular basis for synapse-specific modifications during long-term information storage in the brain.

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