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RNA Therapeutics Institute

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Cell Biology | Neuroscience and Neurobiology | Nucleic Acids, Nucleotides, and Nucleosides


The polarized structure of axons and dendrites in neuronal cells depends in part on RNA localization. Previous studies have looked at which polyadenylated RNAs are enriched in neuronal projections or at synapses, but less is known about the distribution of non-adenylated RNAs. By physically dissecting projections from cell bodies of primary rat hippocampal neurons and sequencing total RNA, we found an unexpected set of free circular introns with a non-canonical branchpoint enriched in neuronal projections. These introns appear to be tailless lariats that escape debranching. They lack ribosome occupancy, sequence conservation, and known localization signals, and their function, if any, is not known. Nonetheless, their enrichment in projections has important implications for our understanding of the mechanisms by which RNAs reach distal compartments of asymmetric cells.


RNA, RNA localization, cell biology, intron, neurons, neuroscience, rat

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Copyright Saini et al. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

DOI of Published Version



Elife. 2019 Nov 7;8. pii: 47809. doi: 10.7554/eLife.47809. Link to article on publisher's site

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.