Translation in astrocyte distal processes sets molecular heterogeneity at the gliovascular interface

Cell Discov. 2017 Mar 28:3:17005. doi: 10.1038/celldisc.2017.5. eCollection 2017.


Astrocytes send out long processes that are terminated by endfeet at the vascular surface and regulate vascular functions as well as homeostasis at the vascular interface. To date, the astroglial mechanisms underlying these functions have been poorly addressed. Here we demonstrate that a subset of messenger RNAs is distributed in astrocyte endfeet. We identified, among this transcriptome, a pool of messenger RNAs bound to ribosomes, the endfeetome, that primarily encodes for secreted and membrane proteins. We detected nascent protein synthesis in astrocyte endfeet. Finally, we determined the presence of smooth and rough endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi apparatus in astrocyte perivascular processes and endfeet, suggesting for local maturation of membrane and secreted proteins. These results demonstrate for the first time that protein synthesis occurs in astrocyte perivascular distal processes that may sustain their structural and functional polarization at the vascular interface.

Keywords: astrocyte; endfeet; gliovascular unit; local translation; mRNAs localization; translating ribosome immunoprecipitation.