An important aspect of gene expression in neurons involves the delivery of mRNAs to particular subcellular domains, where translation of the mRNAs is locally controlled. Local synthesis of protein within dendrites plays a key role in activity-dependent synaptic modifications. In growing axons, local synthesis in the growth cone is important for extension and guidance. Recent evidence also documents the existence of mechanisms permitting local protein degradation, providing bidirectional control of protein composition in local domains. Here, we summarize what is known about local synthesis and degradation of protein in dendrites and axons, highlighting key unresolved questions.