Axon TRAP reveals learning-associated alterations in cortical axonal mRNAs in the lateral amgydala

Elife. 2019 Dec 11:8:e51607. doi: 10.7554/eLife.51607.


Local translation can support memory consolidation by supplying new proteins to synapses undergoing plasticity. Translation in adult forebrain dendrites is an established mechanism of synaptic plasticity and is regulated by learning, yet there is no evidence for learning-regulated protein synthesis in adult forebrain axons, which have traditionally been believed to be incapable of translation. Here, we show that axons in the adult rat amygdala contain translation machinery, and use translating ribosome affinity purification (TRAP) with RNASeq to identify mRNAs in cortical axons projecting to the amygdala, over 1200 of which were regulated during consolidation of associative memory. Mitochondrial and translation-related genes were upregulated, whereas synaptic, cytoskeletal, and myelin-related genes were downregulated; the opposite effects were observed in the cortex. Our results demonstrate that axonal translation occurs in the adult forebrain and is altered after learning, supporting the likelihood that local translation is more a rule than an exception in neuronal processes.

Keywords: amygdala; axonal translation; local translation; memory consolidation; neuroscience; rat; translatome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / metabolism*
  • Basolateral Nuclear Complex / physiology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Learning*
  • Protein Biosynthesis*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA


  • RNA, Messenger

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE124592