Neurons are among the most compartmentalized and interactive of all cell types. Like all cells, neurons use proteins as the main sensors and effectors. The modification of the proteome in axons and dendrites is used to guide the formation of synaptic connections and to store information. In this Review, we discuss the data indicating that an important source of protein for dendrites, axons and their associated elements is provided by the local synthesis of proteins. We review the data indicating the presence of the machinery required for protein synthesis, the direct visualization and demonstration of protein synthesis, and the established functional roles for local translation for many different neuronal functions. Finally, we consider the open questions and future directions in this field.
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We thank members of our laboratories, particularly S. tom Dieck for help with Fig. 1 and Table 1. C.E.H. is funded by the Wellcome Trust (203249/Z/16/Z) and an Advanced Investigator Award from the European Research council (322817). K.C.M. is funded by NIH R01MH077022 and NIH R21MH113102. E.M.S. is funded by the Max Planck Society, an Advanced Investigator Award from the European Research Council (743216), and DFG CRC 1080 and CRC 902.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Peer review information: Katarzyna Marcinkiewicz was the primary editor on this article and managed its editorial process and peer review in collaboration with the rest of the editorial team.
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Holt, C.E., Martin, K.C. & Schuman, E.M. Local translation in neurons: visualization and function. Nat Struct Mol Biol 26, 557–566 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41594-019-0263-5
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