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J Cell Biol. 1998 Jun 29;141(7):1601-11.

Activity-dependent regulation of dendritic BC1 RNA in hippocampal neurons in culture.

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


Several neuronal RNAs have been identified in dendrites, and it has been suggested that the dendritic location of these RNAs may be relevant to the spatiotemporal regulation of mosaic postsynaptic protein repertoires through transsynaptic activity. Such regulation would require that dendritic RNAs themselves, or at least some of them, be subject to physiological control. We have therefore examined the functional regulation of somatodendritic expression levels of dendritic BC1 RNA in hippocampal neurons in culture. BC1 RNA, an RNA polymerase III transcript that is a component of a ribonucleoprotein particle, became first detectable in somatodendritic domains of developing hippocampal neurons at times of initial synapse formation. BC1 RNA was identified only in such neurons that had established synapses on cell bodies and/or developing dendritic arbors. When synaptic contact formation was initiated later in low-density cultures, BC1 expression was coordinately delayed. Inhibition of neuronal activity in hippocampal neurons resulted in a substantial but reversible reduction of somatodendritic BC1 expression. We conclude that expression of BC1 RNA in somatic and dendritic domains of hippocampal neurons is regulated in development, and is dependent upon neuronal activity. These results establish (for the first time to our knowledge) that an RNA polymerase III transcript can be subject to control through physiological activity in nerve cells.

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