Conserved 3'-untranslated region sequences direct subcellular localization of chaperone protein mRNAs in neurons.
ABSTRACT: mRNA localization provides polarized cells with a locally renewable source of proteins. In neurons, mRNA translation can occur at millimeters to centimeters from the cell body, giving the dendritic and axonal processes a means to autonomously respond to their environment. Despite that hundreds of mRNAs have been detected in neuronal processes, there are no reliable means to predict mRNA localization elements. Here, we have asked what RNA elements are needed for localization of transcripts encoding endoplasmic reticulum chaperone proteins in neurons. The 3'-untranslated regions (UTRs) of calreticulin and Grp78/BiP mRNAs show no homology to one another, but each shows extensive regions of high sequence identity to their 3'UTRs in mammalian orthologs. These conserved regions are sufficient for subcellular localization of reporter mRNAs in neurons. The 3'UTR of calreticulin has two conserved regions, and either of these is sufficient for axonal and dendritic targeting. However, only nucleotides 1315-1412 show ligand responsiveness to neurotrophin 3 (NT3) and myelin-associated glycoprotein (MAG). This NT3- and MAG-dependent axonal mRNA transport requires activation of JNK, both for calreticulin mRNA and for other mRNAs whose axonal levels are commonly regulated by NT3 and MAG.
Project description:Following injury, sensory axons locally translate mRNAs that encode proteins needed for the response to injury, locally and through retrograde signaling, and for regeneration. In this study, we addressed the mechanism and role of axotomy-induced intra-axonal translation of the ER chaperone Calreticulin. In vivo peripheral nerve injury increased Calreticulin levels in sensory axons. Using an in vitro model system of sensory neurons amenable to mechanistic dissection we provide evidence that axotomy induces local translation of Calreticulin through PERK (protein kinase RNA-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase) mediated phosphorylation of eIF2? by a mechanism that requires both 5' and 3'UTRs (untranslated regions) elements in Calreticulin mRNA. ShRNA mediated depletion of Calreticulin or inhibition of PERK signaling increased axon retraction following axotomy. In contrast, expression of axonally targeted, but not somatically restricted, Calreticulin mRNA decreased retraction and promoted axon regeneration following axotomy in vitro. Collectively, these data indicate that the intra-axonal translation of Calreticulin in response to axotomy serves to minimize the ensuing retraction, and overexpression of axonally targeted Calreticulin mRNA promotes axon regeneration.
Project description:Many neuronal mRNAs are actively transported into distal axons. The 3' untranslated regions (UTRs) of axonal mRNAs often contain cues for their localization. The 3' UTR of neuritin mRNA was shown to be sufficient for localization into axons of hippocampal neurons. Here, we show that neuritin mRNA localizes into axons of rat sensory neurons, but this is predominantly driven by the 5' rather than 3' UTR. Neuritin mRNA shifts from cell body to axon predominantly after nerve crush injury, suggesting that it encodes a growth-associated protein. Consistent with this, overexpression of neuritin increases axon growth but only when its mRNA localizes into the axons.
Project description:HuD protein (also known as ELAVL4) has been shown to stabilize mRNAs with AU-rich elements (ARE) in their 3' untranslated regions (UTRs), including Gap43, which has been linked to axon growth. HuD also binds to neuritin (Nrn1) mRNA, whose 3'UTR contains ARE sequences. Although the Nrn1 3'UTR has been shown to mediate its axonal localization in embryonic hippocampal neurons, it is not active in adult dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons. Here, we asked why the 3'UTR is not sufficient to mediate the axonal localization of Nrn1 mRNA in DRG neurons. HuD overexpression increases the ability of the Nrn1 3'UTR to mediate axonal localizing in DRG neurons. HuD binds directly to the Nrn1 ARE with about a two-fold higher affinity than to the Gap43 ARE. Although the Nrn1 ARE can displace the Gap43 ARE from HuD binding, HuD binds to the full 3'UTR of Gap43 with higher affinity, such that higher levels of Nrn1 are needed to displace the Gap43 3'UTR. The Nrn1 3'UTR can mediate a higher level of axonal localization when endogenous Gap43 is depleted from DRG neurons. Taken together, our data indicate that endogenous Nrn1 and Gap43 mRNAs compete for binding to HuD for their axonal localization and activity of the Nrn1 3'UTR.
Project description:Localized translation of axonal mRNAs contributes to developmental and regenerative axon growth. Although untranslated regions (UTRs) of many different axonal mRNAs appear to drive their localization, there has been no consensus RNA structure responsible for this localization. We recently showed that limited expression of ZBP1 protein restricts axonal localization of both ?-actin and GAP-43 mRNAs. ?-actin 3'UTR has a defined element for interaction with ZBP1, but GAP-43 mRNA shows no homology to this RNA sequence. Here, we show that an AU-rich regulatory element (ARE) in GAP-43's 3'UTR is necessary and sufficient for its axonal localization. Axonal GAP-43 mRNA levels increase after in vivo injury, and GAP-43 mRNA shows an increased half-life in regenerating axons. GAP-43 mRNA interacts with both HuD and ZBP1, and HuD and ZBP1 co-immunoprecipitate in an RNA-dependent fashion. Reporter mRNA with the GAP-43 ARE competes with endogenous ?-actin mRNA for axonal localization and decreases axon length and branching similar to the ?-actin 3'UTR competing with endogenous GAP-43 mRNA. Conversely, over-expressing GAP-43 coding sequence with its 3'UTR ARE increases axonal elongation and this effect is lost when just the ARE is deleted from GAP-43's 3'UTR. We have recently found that over-expression of GAP-43 using an axonally targeted construct with the 3'UTRs of GAP-43 promoted elongating growth of axons, while restricting the mRNA to the cell body with the 3'UTR of ?-actin had minimal effect on axon length. In this study, we show that the ARE in GAP-43's 3'UTR is responsible for localization of GAP-43 mRNA into axons and is sufficient for GAP-43 protein's role in elongating axonal growth.
Project description:Sensory neurons transport a complex population of mRNAs into their axons, including many encoding ER chaperone proteins. Transport of the mRNA encoding the ER chaperone protein calreticulin is regulated through 3'UTR elements. In other cellular systems, translation of chaperone protein mRNAs can be regulated by ER stress. Here, we have asked if the translation of axonal calreticulin mRNA is regulated in a different manner than its transport into axons. Treatment with lysophosphatidic acid, which is known to trigger axon retraction and stimulate ER Ca(2+) release, caused a translation-dependent increase in axonal calreticulin protein levels. RNA sequences in the 5'UTR of calreticulin confer this translational control through a mechanism that requires an inactivating phosphorylation of eIF2?. In contrast to calreticulin, these signaling events do not activate axonal translation through ?-actin's 5'UTR. Together, these data indicate that stimulation of ER stress can regulate specificity of localized mRNA translation through 5'UTR elements.
Project description:The 3' untranslated regions (3' UTRs) of mRNAs serve as hubs for post-transcriptional control as the targets of microRNAs (miRNAs) and RNA-binding proteins (RBPs). Sequences in 3' UTRs confer alterations in mRNA stability, direct mRNA localization to subcellular regions, and impart translational control. Thousands of mRNAs are localized to subcellular compartments in neurons-including axons, dendrites, and synapses-where they are thought to undergo local translation. Despite an established role for 3' UTR sequences in imparting mRNA localization in neurons, the specific RNA sequences and structural features at play remain poorly understood. The nervous system selectively expresses longer 3' UTR isoforms via alternative polyadenylation (APA). The regulation of APA in neurons and the neuronal functions of longer 3' UTR mRNA isoforms are starting to be uncovered. Surprising roles for 3' UTRs are emerging beyond the regulation of protein synthesis and include roles as RBP delivery scaffolds and regulators of alternative splicing. Evidence is also emerging that 3' UTRs can be cleaved, leading to stable, isolated 3' UTR fragments which are of unknown function. Mutations in 3' UTRs are implicated in several neurological disorders-more studies are needed to uncover how these mutations impact gene regulation and what is their relationship to disease severity.
Project description:Through the asymmetric distribution of messenger RNAs (mRNAs), cells spatially regulate gene expression to create cytoplasmic domains with specialized functions. In neurons, mRNA localization is required for essential processes such as cell polarization, migration, and synaptic plasticity underlying long-term memory formation. The essential components driving cytoplasmic mRNA transport in neurons and mammalian cells are not known. We report the first reconstitution of a mammalian mRNA transport system revealing that the tumor suppressor adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) forms stable complexes with the axonally localized ?-actin and ?2B-tubulin mRNAs, which are linked to a kinesin-2 via the cargo adaptor KAP3. APC activates kinesin-2, and both proteins are sufficient to drive specific transport of defined mRNA packages. Guanine-rich sequences located in 3'UTRs of axonal mRNAs increase transport efficiency and balance the access of different mRNAs to the transport system. Our findings reveal a minimal set of proteins sufficient to transport mammalian mRNAs.
Project description:Subcellular localization of mRNAs is regulated by RNA-protein interactions. Here, we show that introduction of a reporter mRNA with the 3'UTR of ?-actin mRNA competes with endogenous mRNAs for binding to ZBP1 in adult sensory neurons. ZBP1 is needed for axonal localization of ?-actin mRNA, and introducing GFP with the 3'UTR of ?-actin mRNA depletes axons of endogenous ?-actin and GAP-43 mRNAs and attenuates both in vitro and in vivo regrowth of severed axons. Consistent with limited levels of ZBP1 protein in adult neurons, mice heterozygous for the ZBP1 gene are haploinsufficient for axonal transport of ?-actin and GAP-43 mRNAs and for regeneration of peripheral nerve. Exogenous ZBP1 can rescue the RNA transport deficits, but the axonal growth deficit is only rescued if the transported mRNAs are locally translated. These data support a direct role for ZBP1 in transport and translation of mRNA cargos in axonal regeneration in vitro and in vivo.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Short (~5 nucleotides) interspersed repeats regulate several aspects of post-transcriptional gene expression. Previously we developed an algorithm (REPFIND) that assigns P-values to all repeated motifs in a given nucleic acid sequence and reliably identifies clusters of short CAC-containing motifs required for mRNA localization in Xenopus oocytes. DESCRIPTION: In order to facilitate the identification of genes possessing clusters of repeats that regulate post-transcriptional aspects of gene expression in mammalian genes, we used REPFIND to create a database of all repeated motifs in the 3' untranslated regions (UTR) of genes from the Mammalian Gene Collection (MGC). The MGC database includes seven vertebrate species: human, cow, rat, mouse and three non-mammalian vertebrate species. A web-based application was developed to search this database of repeated motifs to generate species-specific lists of genes containing specific classes of repeats in their 3'-UTRs. This computational tool is called 3'-UTR SIRF (Short Interspersed Repeat Finder), and it reveals that hundreds of human genes contain an abundance of short CAC-rich and CAG-rich repeats in their 3'-UTRs that are similar to those found in mRNAs localized to the neurites of neurons. We tested four candidate mRNAs for localization in rat hippocampal neurons by in situ hybridization. Our results show that two candidate CAC-rich (Syntaxin 1B and Tubulin beta4) and two candidate CAG-rich (Sec61alpha and Syntaxin 1A) mRNAs are localized to distal neurites, whereas two control mRNAs lacking repeated motifs in their 3'-UTR remain primarily in the cell body. CONCLUSION: Computational data generated with 3'-UTR SIRF indicate that hundreds of mammalian genes have an abundance of short CA-containing motifs that may direct mRNA localization in neurons. In situ hybridization shows that four candidate mRNAs are localized to distal neurites of cultured hippocampal neurons. These data suggest that short CA-containing motifs may be part of a widely utilized genetic code that regulates mRNA localization in vertebrate cells. The use of 3'-UTR SIRF to search for new classes of motifs that regulate other aspects of gene expression should yield important information in future studies addressing cis-regulatory information located in 3'-UTRs.
Project description:Subcellular regulation of protein synthesis requires the correct localization of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) within the cell. In this study, we investigate whether the axonal localization of neuronal mRNAs is regulated by extracellular stimuli. By profiling axonal levels of 50 mRNAs detected in regenerating adult sensory axons, we show that neurotrophins can increase and decrease levels of axonal mRNAs. Neurotrophins (nerve growth factor, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and neurotrophin-3) regulate axonal mRNA levels and use distinct downstream signals to localize individual mRNAs. However, myelin-associated glycoprotein and semaphorin 3A regulate axonal levels of different mRNAs and elicit the opposite effect on axonal mRNA levels from those observed with neurotrophins. The axonal mRNAs accumulate at or are depleted from points of ligand stimulation along the axons. The translation product of a chimeric green fluorescent protein-beta-actin mRNA showed similar accumulation or depletion adjacent to stimuli that increase or decrease axonal levels of endogenous beta-actin mRNA. Thus, extracellular ligands can regulate protein generation within subcellular regions by specifically altering the localized levels of particular mRNAs.