Periaxoplasmic ribosomal plaques (PARPs) are periodic structural formations containing ribosomes, which are likely cortical sites of translation along myelinated fibers. beta-actin mRNA, and its trans-acting binding factor, zipcode-binding protein-1, were co-distributed within PARP domains of axoplasmic whole-mounts isolated from goldfish Mauthner, rabbit and rat nerve fibers. The distribution of co-localization signals of fluorophore pixels, however, was asymmetric in PARP domains, possibly indicative of endpoint trafficking of RNPs. beta-actin mRNA in RNA extracted from axoplasm of single Mauthner fibers was confirmed by RT-PCR. A metabolically active isolated Mauthner fiber system, which required cAMP to activate translation, was developed in order to probe cycloheximide-sensitivity, and the importance of the actin cytoskeleton. cAMP greatly stimulated protein synthesis in axoplasm after a period of pre-incubation, while being inhibited strongly by cycloheximide, or by cytochalasin D. Cytochalasin D reduced incorporation only modestly in the associated myelin sheath. We conclude that mechanisms for targeting and localizing beta-actin mRNA to discrete PARP domains are probably similar to those described for dendritic synaptic domains. Moreover, optimal translation in axoplasm depends on the integrity of the actin cytoskeleton, and can be modulated by cAMP as well.