Translation of localized mRNA is a fast and efficient way of reacting to extracellular stimuli with the added benefit of providing spatial resolution to the cellular response. The efficacy of this adaptive response ultimately relies on the ability to express a particular protein at the right time and in the right place. Although mRNA localization is a mechanism shared by most organisms, it is especially relevant in highly polarized cells, such as differentiated neurons. 3'-Untranslated regions (3'UTRs) of mRNAs are critical both for the targeting of transcripts to specific subcellular compartments and for translational control. Here we review recent studies that indicate how, in response to extracellular cues, nuclear and cytoplasmic remodeling of the 3'UTR contributes to mRNA localization and local protein synthesis.