Local protein synthesis mediates a rapid increase in dendritic elongation factor 1A after induction of late long-term potentiation.
The functioning of the neuronal dendrite results from a variety of biological processes including mRNA transport to and protein translation in the dendrite. The complexity of the mRNA population in dendrites suggests that specific biological processes are modulated through the regulation of dendritic biology. There are various classes of mRNAs in dendrites whose translation modulates the ability of the dendrite to receive and integrate presynaptic information. Among these mRNAs are those encoding selective transcription factors that function in the neuronal soma and ionotropic glutamate receptors that function on the neuronal membrane. Conclusive evidence that these mRNAs can be translated is reviewed, and identification of the endogenous sites of translation in living dendrites is presented. These data, as well as those described in the other articles resulting from this colloquium, highlight the complexity of dendritic molecular biology and the exquisitely selective and sensitive modulatory role played by the dendrite in facilitating intracellular and intercellular communication.