Structural compartments within neurons: Developmentally regulated organization of microfilament isoform mRNA and protein

Anthony J. Hannan*, Peter Gunning, Peter L. Jeffrey, Ron P. Weinberger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


The microfilament system is thought to be a crucial cytoskeletal component regulating development and mature function of neurons. The intracellular distribution of the microfilament isoform components, actin and tropomyosin (Tm), in neurons primarily in vivo, has been investigated at both the mRNA and the protein level using isoform specific riboprobes and antibodies. Our in vivo and in vitro studies have identified at least six neuronal compartments based on microfilament isoform mRNA localization: the developing soma, the mature soma, growth cone, developing axon hillock/proximal axon, mature somatodendritic and mature axonal pole soma. Protein localization patterns revealed that the isoforms were frequently distributed over a wider area than their respective mRNAs, suggesting that isoform specific patterns of mRNA targeting may influence, but do not absolutely determine, microfilament isoform location. Tm4 and Tm5 showed identical mRNA targeting in the developing neuron but distinct protein localization patterns. We suggest that in this instance mRNA location may best be viewed as a regulated site of synthesis and assembly, rather than a regulator of protein localization per se. In addition, Tm5 and β-actin mRNA and protein locations were developmentally regulated, suggesting the possibility that environmental signals modulate targeting of specific mRNAs and their proteins. Thus, developmentally regulated mRNA localization and positional translation may act in concert with protein transport to regulate neuronal microfilament composition and consequently neuronal structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-304
Number of pages16
JournalMolecular and Cellular Neurosciences
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Actin
  • Microfilaments
  • MRNA localization
  • Neuronal development
  • Protein targeting
  • Tropomyosin


Dive into the research topics of 'Structural compartments within neurons: Developmentally regulated organization of microfilament isoform mRNA and protein'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this