The function of RNA-binding proteins at the synapse: Implications for neurodegeneration

Chantelle F. Sephton, Gang Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

The loss of synapses is a central event in neurodegenerative diseases. Synaptic proteins are often associated with disease neuropathology, but their role in synaptic loss is not fully understood. Of the many processes involved in sustaining the integrity of synapses, local protein translation can directly impact synaptic formation, communication, and maintenance. RNA-binding proteins and their association with RNA granules serve to regulate mRNA transportation and translation at synapses and in turn regulate the synapse. Genetic mutations in RNA-binding proteins FUS and TDP-43 have been linked with causing neurodegenerative diseases: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia. The observation that mutations in FUS and TDP-43 coincide with changes in RNA granules provides evidence that dysfunction of RNA metabolism may underlie the mechanism of synaptic loss in these diseases. However, we do not know how mutations in RNA-binding proteins would affect RNA granule dynamics and local translation, or if these alterations would cause neurodegeneration. Further investigation into this area will lead to important insights into how disruption of RNA metabolism and local translation at synapses can cause neurodegenerative diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3621-3635
Number of pages15
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Volume72
Issue number19
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 6 2015

Keywords

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Local translation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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