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J Neurosci. 2004 Mar 17;24(11):2648-55.

Metabotropic glutamate receptor activation regulates fragile x mental retardation protein and FMR1 mRNA localization differentially in dendrites and at synapses.

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Department of Neuroscience, Rose Kennedy Center for Mental Retardation, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York 10461, USA.


Fragile X syndrome is caused by the absence of the mRNA-binding protein Fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP), which may play a role in activity-regulated localization and translation of mRNA in dendrites and at synapses. We investigated whether neuronal activity and glutamatergic signals regulate trafficking of FMRP and its encoding Fmr1 mRNA into dendrites or at synapses. Using high-resolution fluorescence and digital imaging microscopy in cultured hippocampal neurons, FMRP and Fmr1 mRNA were localized in granules throughout dendrites and within spines. KCl depolarization rapidly increased FMRP and Fmr1 mRNA levels in dendrites. Metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) activation, in particular mGluR5 activation, was necessary for localization of FMRP into dendrites. Blockade of either PKC or internal calcium prevented mGluR-dependent localization of both FMRP and Fmr1 mRNA in dendrites. The activity-dependent localization of FMRP was not dependent on protein synthesis. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching analysis of live neurons transfected with enhanced green fluorescent protein-FMRP revealed increased granule trafficking in response to KCl depolarization. In contrast to its dendritic localization, mGluR activation diminished FMRP, but not Fmr1 mRNA, localization at synapses. These results demonstrate regulation of FMRP and Fmr1 mRNA trafficking in dendrites and synapses in response to specific glutamatergic signals.

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