The mammalian staufen protein localizes to the somatodendritic domain of cultured hippocampal neurons: implications for its involvement in mRNA transport

J Neurosci. 1999 Jan 1;19(1):288-97. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.19-01-00288.1999.


In hippocampal neurons, certain mRNAs have been found in dendrites (), and their localization and translation have been implicated in synaptic plasticity (). One attractive candidate to achieve transport of mRNAs into dendrites is Staufen (Stau), a double-stranded RNA-binding protein, which plays a pivotal role in mRNA transport, localization, and translation in Drosophila (). Using antibodies raised against a peptide located in the RNA-binding domain IIa and a polyclonal antibody raised against a recently cloned human Staufen homolog, we identify a 65 kDa rat homolog in cultured rat hippocampal neurons. In agreement with the exclusive somatodendritic localization of mRNAs in these cells, we find that Staufen is restricted to the same domain. By immunoelectron microscopy, we show enrichment of the mammalian homolog of Stau (mStau) in the vicinity of smooth endoplasmic reticulum and microtubules near synaptic contacts. Finally, the association of the mStau with neuronal mRNAs is suggested by the colocalization with ribonucleoprotein particles specifically in distal dendrites known to contain mRNA, ribosomes, and translation factors (). These results suggest a role for mStau in the polarized transport and localization of mRNAs in mammalian neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dendrites / chemistry*
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Hippocampus / chemistry*
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Humans
  • Insect Hormones / analysis*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / analysis*
  • Neurons / chemistry*
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / analysis*
  • Rats
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Insect Hormones
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • stau protein, Drosophila

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AJ010200