Department of Neurobiology
Medical Subject Headings
Active Transport, Cell Nucleus; Animals; Cell Nucleus; Neurons; Signal Transduction; Synapses
Neuroscience and Neurobiology
How do neurons integrate intracellular communication from synapse to nucleus and back? Here we briefly summarize aspects of this topic covered by a symposium at Neuroscience 2011. A rich repertoire of signaling mechanisms link both dendritic terminals and axon tips with neuronal soma and nucleus, using motor-dependent transport machineries to traverse the long intracellular distances along neuronal processes. Activation mechanisms at terminals include localized translation of dendritic or axonal RNA, proteolytic cleavage of receptors or second messengers, and differential phosphorylation of signaling moieties. Signaling complexes may be transported in endosomes, or as non-endosomal complexes associated with importins and dynein. Anterograde transport of RNA granules from the soma to neuronal processes, coupled with retrograde transport of proteins translated locally at terminals or within processes, may fuel ongoing bidirectional communication between soma and synapse to modulate synaptic plasticity as well as neuronal growth and survival decisions.