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RNA transcripts in axons: a novel approach to unveil mechanisms of regeneration.
A second goal of the research in my laboratory is to characterize mRNAs that are locally translated in axons of neurotrophin-dependent neurons and to understand the signalling pathways that regulate their transport. By combining compartmentalized cultures of sympathetic neurons with Sequence Analysis of Gene Expression (SAGE) assays, we have performed an unbiased screen to identify mRNAs localized in axons. We found several hundred, many of which are selectively enriched in axon terminals compared to cell bodies and some of which encode proteins involved in neuronal growth, axon guidance and regeneration. The screen was technically challenging, but we are now in a position to extend the project in several exciting directions, including the following: • To characterize the mRNAs highly enriched in axons • To analyze the role of local protein synthesis for axon growth during development • To identify regulatory sequence(s) that influence mRNA targeting in axons
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