Molecular mechanisms behind mRNA localization in axons: Axonal mRNA Localisation

Benita Turner-Bridger, Cinzia Caterino, Jean Michel Cioni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Messenger RNA (mRNA) localization allows spatiotemporal regulation of the proteome at the subcellular level. This is observed in the axons of neurons, where mRNA localization is involved in regulating neuronal development and function by orchestrating rapid adaptive responses to extracellular cues and the maintenance of axonal homeostasis through local translation. Here, we provide an overview of the key findings that have broadened our knowledge regarding how specific mRNAs are trafficked and localize to axons. In particular, we review transcriptomic studies investigating mRNA content in axons and the molecular principles underpinning how these mRNAs arrived there, including cis-acting mRNA sequences and trans-acting proteins playing a role. Further, we discuss evidence that links defective axonal mRNA localization and pathological outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number200177
JournalOpen Biology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2020


  • axon
  • local translation
  • mRNA trafficking
  • neuron
  • RNA-binding proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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