Abstract: Local mRNA translation mediates the adaptive responses of axons to extrinsic signals, but direct evidence that it occurs in mammalian CNS axons in vivo is scant. We developed an axon-TRAP-RiboTag approach in mouse that allows deep-sequencing analysis of ribosome-bound mRNAs in the retinal ganglion cell axons of the developing and adult retinotectal projection in vivo. The embryonic-to-postnatal axonal translatome comprises an evolving subset of enriched genes with axon-specific roles, suggesting distinct steps in axon wiring, such as elongation, pruning, and synaptogenesis. Adult axons, remarkably, have a complex translatome with strong links to axon survival, neurotransmission, and neurodegenerative disease. Translationally co-regulated mRNA subsets share common upstream regulators, and sequence elements generated by alternative splicing promote axonal mRNA translation. Our results indicate that intricate regulation of compartment-specific mRNA translation in mammalian CNS axons supports the formation and maintenance of neural circuits in vivo.
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16 June 2016