Neuronal mRNAs travel singly into dendrites

Mona Batish, Patrick Van Den Bogaard, Fred Russell Kramer, Sanjay Tyagi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


RNA transport granules deliver translationally repressed mRNAs to synaptic sites in dendrites, where synaptic activity promotes their localized translation. Although the identity of many proteins that make up the neuronal granules is known, the stoichiometry of their core component, the mRNA, is poorly understood. By imaging nine different dendritically localized mRNA species with single-molecule sensitivity and subdiffraction-limit resolution in cultured hippocampal neurons, we show that two molecules of the same or different mRNA species do not assemble in common structures. Even mRNA species with a common dendritic localization element, the sequence that is believed to mediate the incorporation of these mRNAs into common complexes, do not colocalize. These results suggest that mRNA molecules traffic to the distal reaches of dendrites singly and independently of others, a model that permits a finer control of mRNA content within a synapse for synaptic plasticity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4645-4650
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 20 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Long-term potentiation
  • RNA granules
  • Single-molecule imaging
  • Synaptic transmission
  • mRNA localization


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