Combinations of DEAD box proteins distinguish distinct types of RNA: protein complexes in neurons

Mol Cell Neurosci. 2009 Apr;40(4):485-95. doi: 10.1016/j.mcn.2009.01.007.


Transport of mRNAs to axons and dendrites in neurons is important for growth, polarization and plasticity. Recent proteomic studies in neurons have identified a number of DEAD box proteins as components of RNA granules. Using DEAD box proteins as markers, we have defined classes of RNA:protein structures present in neurons. In particular, we demonstrate that the conjunction of DEAD box 1 and DEAD box 3 identifies a motile ribosome-containing RNA granule present in both axons and dendrites that is similar to the biochemically isolated RNA granule. Conjunction of DEAD box 1 and the novel protein CGI-99 defines a distinct complex in neurons. Attempts to define a P-body like structure with expression of DEAD box 6 and decapping enzymes suggest that this structure may be more complex in neuronal processes than in other compartments. These studies hint at a great complexity in RNA transport and storage in neuronal processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / chemistry
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / genetics
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / metabolism
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases / genetics
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases / metabolism*
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism*
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • RNA / classification
  • RNA / genetics
  • RNA / metabolism*
  • RNA Transport
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Ribosomes / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • Isoenzymes
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • RNA
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases