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Deep Sequencing and High-Resolution Imaging Reveal Compartment-Specific Localization of Bdnf mRNA in Hippocampal Neurons

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Science Signaling  17 Dec 2013:
Vol. 6, Issue 306, pp. rs16
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2004520

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Finding the Site of Translation

Studies using exogenous, man-made gene reporter constructs can provide insight into the induction and localization of gene expression; however, they have the caveat of artificiality. Furthermore, the 3′ untranslated region (3′UTR) can influence the localization, stability, and translation efficiency of an mRNA. Will et al. used a suite of quantitative imaging techniques and automated analysis to examine the abundance and localization of two mRNA isoforms (containing a short or long 3′UTR) of endogenous Bdnf, which encodes a neuronal growth factor, in distinct compartments of unstimulated or stimulated adult rat hippocampal neurons. Their findings show how sensitive quantitative techniques may be applied to measure endogenous gene expression in situ and reveal that Bdnf transcripts are predominantly localized to the neuronal cell body, not the dendrites.

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