Regulation of mRNA Translation in Neurons-A Matter of Life and Death

Neuron. 2017 Nov 1;96(3):616-637. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.09.057.


Dynamic regulation of mRNA translation initiation and elongation is essential for the survival and function of neural cells. Global reductions in translation initiation resulting from mutations in the translational machinery or inappropriate activation of the integrated stress response may contribute to pathogenesis in a subset of neurodegenerative disorders. Aberrant proteins generated by non-canonical translation initiation may be a factor in the neuron death observed in the nucleotide repeat expansion diseases. Dysfunction of central components of the elongation machinery, such as the tRNAs and their associated enzymes, can cause translational infidelity and ribosome stalling, resulting in neurodegeneration. Taken together, dysregulation of mRNA translation is emerging as a unifying mechanism underlying the pathogenesis of many neurodegenerative disorders.

Keywords: GTPBP2; aminoacyl tRNA synthetase; angiogenin; eIF2α phosphorylation; integrated stress response; mTOR; mistranslation; n-Tr20; n-Trtct5; repeat-associated non-ATG translation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Death / physiology
  • Cytoplasm / genetics
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / genetics*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Protein Biosynthesis / physiology*
  • RNA, Messenger / physiology*


  • RNA, Messenger