Pumilio2 and Staufen2 selectively balance the synaptic proteome

Cell Rep. 2021 Jun 22;35(12):109279. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109279.


Neurons have the capacity to adapt to environmental stimuli, a phenomenon termed cellular plasticity. The underlying processes are controlled by a network of RNA-binding proteins (RBPs). Their precise impact, however, is largely unknown. To address this important question, we chose Pumilio2 (Pum2) and Staufen2 (Stau2), which both regulate synaptic transmission. Surprisingly, even though both RBPs dynamically interact with each other in neurons, their respective impact on the transcriptome and proteome is highly selective. Although Pum2 deficiency leads to reduced translation and protein expression, Stau2 depletion preferentially impacts RNA levels and increases protein abundance. Furthermore, we show that Pum2 activates expression of key GABAergic synaptic components, e.g., the GABAA receptor scaffold protein Gephyrin. Consequently, Pum2 depletion selectively reduced the amplitude of miniature inhibitory postsynaptic currents. Together, our data argue for an important role of RBPs to maintain proteostasis in order to control distinct aspects of synaptic transmission.

Keywords: Pumilio2; RBP network; RNA granules; RNA-binding protein; Staufen2; neuronal inhibition; neuronal proteome; polysome profiling; translation activation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • GABAergic Neurons / metabolism
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Proteome / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Synapses / metabolism*
  • Synaptic Transmission
  • Transcriptome / genetics


  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Proteome
  • Pum2 protein, mouse
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • stau2 protein, mouse