Distinct temporal expression of the GW182 paralog TNRC6A in neurons regulates dendritic arborization

J Cell Sci. 2021 Aug 15;134(16):jcs258465. doi: 10.1242/jcs.258465. Epub 2021 Aug 24.


Precise development of the dendritic architecture is a critical determinant of mature neuronal circuitry. MicroRNA (miRNA)-mediated regulation of protein synthesis plays a crucial role in dendritic morphogenesis, but the role of miRNA-induced silencing complex (miRISC) protein components in this process is less studied. Here, we show an important role of a key miRISC protein, the GW182 paralog TNRC6A, in the regulation of dendritic growth. We identified a distinct brain region-specific spatiotemporal expression pattern of GW182 during rat postnatal development. We found that the window of peak GW182 expression coincides with the period of extensive dendritic growth, both in the hippocampus and cerebellum. Perturbation of GW182 function during a specific temporal window resulted in reduced dendritic growth of cultured hippocampal neurons. Mechanistically, we show that GW182 modulates dendritic growth by regulating global somatodendritic translation and actin cytoskeletal dynamics of developing neurons. Furthermore, we found that GW182 affects dendritic architecture by regulating the expression of actin modulator LIMK1. Taken together, our data reveal a previously undescribed neurodevelopmental expression pattern of GW182 and its role in dendritic morphogenesis, which involves both translational control and actin cytoskeletal rearrangement. This article has an associated First Person interview with the first author of the paper.

Keywords: Cytoskeleton; Dendritic development; GW182; LIMK1; Neurons; TNRC6A; Translation regulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins
  • Animals
  • Hippocampus
  • MicroRNAs* / genetics
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Neurons
  • Rats


  • Actins
  • MicroRNAs