Editors' ChoiceNeuroscience

Sensorin Reporter

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Sci. Signal.  23 Jun 2009:
Vol. 2, Issue 76, pp. ec208
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.276ec208

Long-term memory and synaptic plasticity require changes in gene expression and yet can occur in a synapse-specific manner. Messenger RNA (mRNA) localization and regulated translation at synapses have been proposed as mechanisms for spatially restricting gene expression during transcription-dependent, synapse-specific forms of neuronal plasticity. In the sea slug Aplysia, which is a frequently used model system for studying learning and memory, sensorin is a sensory cell–specific peptide neurotransmitter. The mRNA encoding sensorin localizes to distal sensory neurites and further concentrates at sites of synaptic contact between sensory and motor neurons. Wang et al. (see the Perspective by Korte) demonstrate, using translational reporters of sensorin mRNA expressed in individual cultured Aplysia sensory and motor neurons, that local translation occurs at synapses during transcription-dependent, learning-related forms of synaptic plasticity.

D. O. Wang, S. M. Kim, Y. Zhao, H. Hwang, S. K. Miura, W. S. Sossin, K. C. Martin, Synapse- and stimulus-specific local translation during long-term neuronal plasticity. Science 324, 1536–1540 (2009). [Abstract] [Full Text]

M. Korte, Bridging the gap and staying local. Science 324, 1527–1528 (2009). [Summary] [Full Text]

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