The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

NMDA-mediated regulation of DSCAM dendritic local translation is lost in a mouse model of Down's syndrome.

PMID 20926679


Down's syndrome cell adhesion molecule (DSCAM) belongs to the Down's syndrome critical region of human chromosome 21, and it encodes a cell adhesion molecule involved in dendrite morphology and neuronal wiring. Although the function of DSCAM in the adult brain is unknown, its expression pattern suggests a role in synaptic plasticity. Local mRNA translation is a key process in axonal growth, dendritogenesis, and synaptogenesis during development, and in synaptic plasticity in adulthood. Here, we report the dendritic localization of DSCAM mRNA in the adult mouse hippocampus, where it associates with CPEB1 [cytoplasmic polyadenylation element (CPE) binding protein 1], an important regulator of mRNA transport and local translation. We identified five DSCAM isoforms produced by alternative polyadenylation bearing different combinations of regulatory CPE motifs. Overexpression of DSCAM in hippocampal neurons inhibited dendritic branching. Interestingly, dendritic levels of DSCAM mRNA and protein were increased in hippocampal neurons from Ts1Cje mice, a model of Down's syndrome. Most importantly, DSCAM dendritic translation was rapidly induced by NMDA in wild-type, but not in Ts1Cje neurons. We propose that impairment of the NMDA-mediated regulation of DSCAM translation may contribute to the alterations in dendritic morphology and/or synaptic plasticity in Down's syndrome.