Regulated synthesis and movement of proteins between cellular organelles are central to diverse forms of biological adaptation and plasticity. In neurons, the repertoire of channel, receptor, and adhesion proteins displayed on the cell surface directly impacts cellular development, morphology, excitability, and synapse function. The immensity of the neuronal surface membrane and its division into distinct functional domains present a challenging landscape over which proteins must navigate to reach their appropriate functional domains. This problem becomes more complex considering that neuronal protein synthesis is continuously refined in space and time by neural activity. Here we review our current understanding of how integral membrane and secreted proteins important for neuronal function travel from their sites of synthesis to their functional destinations. We discuss how unique adaptations to the function and distribution of neuronal secretory organelles may facilitate local protein trafficking at remote sites in neuronal dendrites to support diverse forms of synaptic plasticity.
Keywords: Golgi apparatus; dendrite; endoplasmic reticulum; intermediate compartment; recycling endosome; synapse.