Seminar: Spatially Restricting Gene Expression in Neurons during Long-term Plasticity
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Title: Spatially Restricting Gene Expression in Neurons during Long-term Plasticity


Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Kyoto University

Host: Yamei NIU

Time: 16:00-17:00 pm, April 19, 2012

Location: Conference room 201, Beijing Institute of Genomics,CAS

Abstract: mRNA localization and regulated translation can spatially restrict gene expression to each of the thousands of synaptic compartments formed by a single neuron, thereby vastly increasing the computational capacity of the brain. We have demonstrated that learning-related stimulus can activate local translation of specific transcripts at synapses, which contributes to persistent refinement of circuit connectivity. The local translation regulation is not only remarkably specific, but also depends on trans-synaptic signals. Our results suggest that mRNA localization and local translation regulation may play critical roles in transcription-dependent, and yet synapse-specific long-term plasticity, a molecular model underlying formation of lasting memories. To understand how specific transcripts are localized, we have identified a cis-element that is sufficient for localizing a reporter transcript from nucleus to synapses. Many questions remain to be answered, such as how a translationally silent RNA is transported over long distances to synapses, and what are the molecular mechanisms regulating their behaviors within the neurites. To address these questions, we are currently developing light-up probe technologies that would allow us to monitor dynamic behavior of RNA in living cells.