Muslimov et al.

Abstract

In neurons, regulation of gene expression occurs in part through translational control at the synapse. A fundamental requirement for such local control is the targeted delivery of select neuronal mRNAs and regulatory RNAs to distal dendritic sites. The nature of spatial RNA destination codes, and the mechanism by which they are interpreted for dendritic delivery, remain poorly understood. We find here that in a key dendritic RNA transport pathway (exemplified by BC1 RNA, a dendritic regulatory RNA, and protein kinase M ζ [PKMζ] mRNA, a dendritic mRNA), noncanonical purine•purine nucleotide interactions are functional determinants of RNA targeting motifs. These motifs are specifically recognized by heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A2 (hnRNP A2), a trans-acting factor required for dendritic delivery. Binding to hnRNP A2 and ensuing dendritic delivery are effectively competed by RNAs with CGG triplet repeat expansions. CGG repeats, when expanded in the 5′ untranslated region of fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1) mRNA, cause fragile X–associated tremor/ataxia syndrome. The data suggest that cellular dysregulation observed in the presence of CGG repeat RNA may result from molecular competition in neuronal RNA transport pathways.

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