Axonal mRNAs: Characterisation and role in the growth and regeneration of dorsal root ganglion axons and growth cones

Christina F. Vogelaar, Noreen M. Gervasi, Laura F. Gumy, David J. Story, Ruma Raha-Chowdhury, Kin Mei Leung, Christine E. Holt, James W. Fawcett*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations

Abstract

We have developed a compartmentalised culture model for the purification of axonal mRNA from embryonic, neonatal and adult rat dorsal root ganglia. This mRNA was used un-amplified for RT-qPCR. We assayed for the presence of axonal mRNAs encoding molecules known to be involved in axon growth and guidance. mRNAs for β-actin, β-tubulin, and several molecules involved in the control of actin dynamics and signalling during axon growth were found, but mRNAs for microtubule-associated proteins, integrins and cell surface adhesion molecules were absent. Quantification of β-actin mRNA by means of qPCR showed that the transcript is present at the same level in embryonic, newborn and adult axons. Using the photoconvertible reporter Kaede we showed that there is local translation of β-actin in axons, the rate being increased by axotomy. Knock down of β-actin mRNA by RNAi inhibited the regeneration of new axon growth cones after in vitro axotomy, indicating that local translation of actin-related molecules is important for successful axon regeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-115
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular and Cellular Neuroscience
Volume42
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Actin
  • Axon growth
  • Axon guidance
  • Axon regeneration
  • Axonal transport
  • Growth cone
  • Integrins
  • Translation
  • Tubulin
  • mRNA

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