Prof. Antonella Riccio - RNA metabolism in developing neurons
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Neurons are cells with a complex morphology, which maintain their cellular structure through the compartmentalized expression of proteins essential for growth and plasticity. Asymmetric localization of RNA is an evolutionarily conserved mechanism that allows spatial restriction of protein synthesis to specific cellular compartments. Incorrect processing and delivery of mRNA causes developmental defects and severe human neurological disorders. In neurons, mRNA transcripts are transported to both dendrites and axons where they are rapidly translated in response to stimuli. The talk will explore how transcripts localized in sympathetic neuron axons are transported, processed, and translated in response to neurotrophins. Special emphasis will be given to the nature of the 3’UTRs of targeted axons and to the presence of unique elements that may determine their fate. I will also discuss our findings indicating that the 3’UTR of localized transcripts undergo axonal cleavage and remodelling, thereby generating mRNA isoforms expressing a shorter 3’UTR, which are rapidly translated, and axonally cleaved RNA fragments with yet unknown function.
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