Staufen- and FMRP-containing neuronal RNPs are structurally and functionally related to somatic P bodies

Neuron. 2006 Dec 21;52(6):997-1009. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2006.10.028.


Local control of mRNA translation modulates neuronal development, synaptic plasticity, and memory formation. A poorly understood aspect of this control is the role and composition of ribonucleoprotein (RNP) particles that mediate transport and translation of neuronal RNAs. Here, we show that staufen- and FMRP-containing RNPs in Drosophila neurons contain proteins also present in somatic "P bodies," including the RNA-degradative enzymes Dcp1p and Xrn1p/Pacman and crucial components of miRNA (argonaute), NMD (Upf1p), and general translational repression (Dhh1p/Me31B) pathways. Drosophila Me31B is shown to participate (1) with an FMRP-associated, P body protein (Scd6p/trailer hitch) in FMRP-driven, argonaute-dependent translational repression in developing eye imaginal discs; (2) in dendritic elaboration of larval sensory neurons; and (3) in bantam miRNA-mediated translational repression in wing imaginal discs. These results argue for a conserved mechanism of translational control critical to neuronal function and open up new experimental avenues for understanding the regulation of mRNA function within neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Blotting, Western / methods
  • Caspases / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Central Nervous System / cytology
  • Dendrites / metabolism
  • Dendrites / physiology
  • Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism
  • Drosophila Proteins / physiology*
  • Exoribonucleases / metabolism
  • Eye / metabolism
  • Eye / ultrastructure
  • Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein / metabolism*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Larva
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning / methods
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Protein Biosynthesis / physiology
  • Protein Transport / physiology
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • RNA-Induced Silencing Complex / metabolism
  • Ribonucleoproteins / physiology*


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • RNA-Induced Silencing Complex
  • Ribonucleoproteins
  • Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein
  • stau protein, Drosophila
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Exoribonucleases
  • pcm protein, Drosophila
  • Caspases
  • Dcp-1 protein, Drosophila