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

Transcriptomic Analysis of Ribosome-Bound mRNA in Cortical Neurites In Vivo.

PMID 28821669


Localized translation in neurites helps regulate synaptic strength and development. Dysregulation of local translation is associated with many neurological disorders. However, due to technical limitations, study of this phenomenon has largely been limited to brain regions with laminar organization of dendrites such as the hippocampus or cerebellum. It has not been examined in the cortex, a region of importance for most neurological disorders, where dendrites of each neuronal population are densely intermingled with cell bodies of others. Therefore, we have developed a novel method, SynapTRAP, which combines synaptoneurosomal fractionation with translating ribosome affinity purification to identify ribosome-bound mRNA in processes of genetically defined cell types. We demonstrate SynapTRAP's efficacy and report local translation in the cortex of mice, where we identify a subset of mRNAs that are translated in dendrites by neuronal ribosomes. These mRNAs have disproportionately longer lengths, enrichment for FMRP binding and G-quartets, and their genes are under greater evolutionary constraint in humans. In addition, we show that alternative splicing likely regulates this phenomenon. Overall, SynapTRAP allows for rapid isolation of cell-type-specific localized translation and is applicable to classes of previously inaccessible neuronal and non-neuronal cells in vivoSIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Instructions for making proteins are found in the genome, housed within the nucleus of each cell. These are then copied as RNA and exported to manufacture new proteins. However, in the brain, memory is thought to be encoded by strengthening individual connections (synapses) between neurons far from the nucleus. Thus, to efficiently make new proteins specifically where they are needed, neurons can transport RNAs to sites near synapses to locally produce proteins. Importantly, several mutations that cause autism disrupt this process. It has been assumed this process occurs in all brain regions, but has never been measured in the cortex. We applied a newly developed method measure to study, for the first time, local translation in cortical neurons.