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Bioessays. 1998 Jan;20(1):70-8.

Messenger RNAs in dendrites: localization, stability, and implications for neuronal function.

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Medical Research Council Developmental Neurobiology Programme, University College London, United Kingdom.


In the mammalian central nervous system (CNS), each neuron receives signals from other neurons through numerous synapses located on its cell body and dendrites. Molecules involved in the postsynaptic signaling pathways need to be targeted to the appropriate subcellular domains at the right time during both synaptogenesis and the maintenance of synaptic functions. The presence of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) in dendrites offers a mechanism for synthesizing the appropriate molecules at the right place in response to local extracellular stimuli. Several dendritic mRNAs have been identified, and the mechanisms controlling their localization are beginning to be understood. In many cell types, controls on mRNA stability play an important role in the regulation of gene expression, but it is unclear to what extent this type of control operates in dendrites. The regulation of protein synthesis and the control of mRNA stability in dendrites could have important implications for neuronal function.

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