Local protein synthesis is a ubiquitous feature of neuronal pre- and postsynaptic compartments
Science. 2019-05-16; 364(6441): eaau3644
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There is ample evidence for localization of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) and protein synthesis in neuronal dendrites; however, demonstrations of these processes in presynaptic terminals are limited. We used expansion microscopy to resolve pre- and postsynaptic compartments in rodent neurons. Most presynaptic terminals in the hippocampus and forebrain contained mRNA and ribosomes. We sorted fluorescently labeled mouse brain synaptosomes and then sequenced hundreds of mRNA species present within excitatory boutons. After brief metabolic labeling, >30% of all presynaptic terminals exhibited a signal, providing evidence for ongoing protein synthesis. We tested different classic plasticity paradigms and observed distinct patterns of rapid pre- and/or postsynaptic translation. Thus, presynaptic terminals are translationally competent, and local protein synthesis is differentially recruited to drive compartment-specific phenotypes that underlie different forms of plasticity.