A role for a rat homolog of staufen in the transport of RNA to neuronal dendrites

Neuron. 2001 Nov 8;32(3):463-75. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(01)00493-7.


RNAs are present in dendrites and may be used for local protein synthesis in response to synaptic activity. To begin to understand dendritic RNA targeting, we cloned a rat homolog of staufen, a Drosophila gene that participates in mRNA targeting during development. In hippocampal neurons, rat staufen protein displays a microtubule-dependent somatodendritic distribution pattern that overlaps with dendritic RNAs. To determine whether r-staufen is required for dendritic RNA targeting, we constructed a mutant version containing the RNA binding domains (stau-RBD) but lacking the C-terminal portion potentially involved in dendritic targeting. Stau-RBD expression was restricted to the cell bodies and proximal dendrites. Expression of stau-RBD significantly decreased, while overexpression of wild-type r-staufen increased, the amount of dendritic mRNA. Taken together, these results suggest that the rat staufen protein plays an important role in the delivery of RNA to dendrites.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport / genetics
  • Dendrites / metabolism*
  • Drosophila
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Luminescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Pyramidal Cells / metabolism
  • RNA / metabolism*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / biosynthesis
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid*


  • Luminescent Proteins
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Stau1 protein, mouse
  • Stau1 protein, rat
  • Stau2 protein, rat
  • staufen protein, mammalian
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • RNA