Mechanisms of selective mRNA transport and translation in neuronal axons
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Selectively targeting mRNA to subcellular locations for local translation allows the distal regions of cells to rapidly respond to extracellular cues. In developing neurons, axons obtain a certain level of autonomy by changing the local proteome in the growth cone during their navigation through the developing nervous system. Studies of mature axons have shown that active local translation still plays an important role in axon maintenance, with evidence suggesting that local translation of mRNA is also indispensible for mounting a sufficient regenerative response upon damage of the axon. Axons seem to gradually lose their local translation abilities as they become more mature, meaning that a thorough understanding of how this ability can be restored could prove beneficial for treating people suffering from damage to their central nervous system. This thesis aims to review literature concerning the mechanisms involved in the selective localization of mRNAs by axoplasmic transport, and will also cover the functionality and regulating factors which induce local translation in the axon.