Dendritic protein synthesis in the normal and diseased brain

Neuroscience. 2013 Mar 1;232:106-27. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2012.12.003. Epub 2012 Dec 20.


Synaptic activity is a spatially limited process that requires a precise, yet dynamic, complement of proteins within the synaptic micro-domain. The maintenance and regulation of these synaptic proteins is regulated, in part, by local mRNA translation in dendrites. Protein synthesis within the postsynaptic compartment allows neurons tight spatial and temporal control of synaptic protein expression, which is critical for proper functioning of synapses and neural circuits. In this review, we discuss the identity of proteins synthesized within dendrites, the receptor-mediated mechanisms regulating their synthesis, and the possible roles for these locally synthesized proteins. We also explore how our current understanding of dendritic protein synthesis in the hippocampus can be applied to new brain regions and to understanding the pathological mechanisms underlying varied neurological diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Brain Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Dendrites / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Protein Biosynthesis / physiology*
  • RNA Transport / physiology
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Synapses / physiology


  • RNA, Messenger