Molecular control of local translation in axon development and maintenance

30 May 2018

The tips of axons are often far away from the cell soma where most proteins are synthesized. Recent work has revealed that axonal mRNA transport and localised translation are key regulatory mechanisms that allow these distant outposts of the cell to respond rapidly to extrinsic factors and maintain axonal homeostasis. Here, we review recent evidence pointing to an increasingly broad role for local protein synthesis in controlling axon shape, synaptogenesis and axon survival by regulating diverse cellular processes such as vesicle trafficking, cytoskeletal remodelling and mitochondrial integrity. We further highlight current research on the regulatory mechanisms that coordinate the localization and translation of functionally linked mRNAs in axons.