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Front Cell Neurosci. 2013 Aug 6;7:126. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2013.00126. eCollection 2013.

MicroRNAs in the axon and presynaptic nerve terminal.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Biology, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda MD, USA.


The distal structural/functional domains of the neuron, to include the axon and presynaptic nerve terminal, contain a large, heterogeneous population of mRNAs and an active protein synthetic system. These local components of the genetic expression machinery play a critical role in the development, function, and long-term viability of the neuron. In addition to the local mRNA populations these presynaptic domains contain a significant number of non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally. Here, we review a small, but rapidly evolving literature on the composition and function of microRNAs that regulate gene expression locally in the axon and nerve terminal. In this capacity, these small regulatory RNAs have a profound effect on axonal protein synthesis, local energy metabolism, and the modulation of axonal outgrowth and branching.


ROS generation; axonal growth; axonal mRNAs; energy metabolism; intra-axonal protein synthesis; mitochondrial mRNAs; translational regulation

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