The subcellular position of a protein is a key determinant of its function. Mounting evidence indicates that RNA localization, where specific mRNAs are transported subcellularly and subsequently translated in response to localized signals, is an evolutionarily conserved mechanism to control protein localization. On-site synthesis confers novel signaling properties to a protein and helps to maintain local proteome homeostasis. Local translation plays particularly important roles in distal neuronal compartments, and dysregulated RNA localization and translation cause defects in neuronal wiring and survival. Here, we discuss key findings in this area and possible implications of this adaptable and swift mechanism for spatial control of gene function.
Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.