About this Research Topic
The specialized morphology of the neuron necessitates a more complex regulation than a unidirectional information transfer from the soma to the dendrites. A single neuron can receive and process thousands of signals at its synapses that are far from the soma. RNA localization and localized translation in neuronal processes are critical for neuronal function due to the need for fast information processing and constant adaptation to external stimuli. The physiology and sensitivity of synapses are modulated by neuronal activity, which is known to drive directed changes in RNA localization and local synthesis of dendritically localized RNAs.
Localized translation has long been appreciated to play an essential role in creating subcellular structures by allowing protein production at the site of action and in response to local cellular need. Local protein synthesis is particularly important in highly polarized cells, such as neurons, to rapidly supply specific and new gene products upon stimuli. Synaptic plasticity, which is the activity-dependent alteration of excitability, is key to the establishment of learning and memory. A common theme is emerging in the pathophysiology of loss of plasticity which points to defects in RNA localization and synaptic translation. How loss of proper RNA localization and/or translational control manifests its effects on specific synapses and thereby results in neurological disorders still remains as a conundrum.
Our aim with this Research Topic is to bring together the community of neuronal RNA biologists, with an emphasis on the roles of RNA localization in neuronal processes and local translation of particular transcripts. We now know that RNA localization and localized protein synthesis in neuronal processes are the key determinants of neuronal homeostasis. However, our knowledge on the mechanistic details and the key players is still missing.
We are interested in all types of manuscripts, ranging from research articles to reviews and commentaries. We would like the main questions that are driving this Research Topic to be:
1) why do particular RNAs localize in neuronal processes;
2) how do these RNAs get there;
3) what are the properties of localized RNAs;
4) why is there a need to synthesize already existing proteins in processes;
5) why is only a subset of the localized RNAs translated and under which conditions;
6) is the translation machinery locally synthesized or controlled;
7) how is RNA/protein degradation controlled in processes and how does it parallel synthesis?
Keywords: RNA, synapse, translation, localization, neuronal processes
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