How can cells sense their own size to coordinate biosynthesis and metabolism with their growth needs? We recently proposed a motor-dependent bidirectional transport mechanism for axon length and cell size sensing, but the nature of the motor-transported size signals remained elusive. Here, we show that motor-dependent mRNA localization regulates neuronal growth and cycling cell size. We found that the RNA-binding protein nucleolin is associated with importin β1 mRNA in axons. Perturbation of nucleolin association with kinesins reduces its levels in axons, with a concomitant reduction in axonal importin β1 mRNA and protein levels. Strikingly, subcellular sequestration of nucleolin or importin β1 enhances axonal growth and causes a subcellular shift in protein synthesis. Similar findings were obtained in fibroblasts. Thus, subcellular mRNA localization regulates size and growth in both neurons and cycling cells.
Copyright © 2016 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.