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The nuclear transcription factor RARalpha associates with neuronal RNA granules and suppresses translation.

Chen N., Onisko B., Napoli J.L.

All-trans-retinoic acid stimulates dendritic growth in hippocampal neurons within minutes by activating mitogen-activated protein kinase and mTOR and increasing dendritic translation of calcium calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II alpha and the alpha-amino-3-hydroxyl-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionate receptor subunit GluR1. Hippocampal neurons express RARalpha in dendrites, and knocking down RARalpha prevents all-trans-retinoic acid effects on dendritic growth. Here we show, by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry analysis of immunoaffinity isolates of hippocampal neurons, that RARalpha partners with many RNA-binding proteins and translation factors conveyed in dendritic RNA transport granules, including the purine-rich element-binding protein, Pur alpha. The interaction of RARalpha with Pur alpha, an RNA-binding protein required for dendritic RNA transport, and other RNA-binding proteins was confirmed by tandem affinity purification. Confocal microscopy confirmed localization of neuronal RARalpha in dendritic RNA granules with Pur alpha and FMRP (the fragile x mental retardation protein). Hippocampal RARalpha also associates with mRNA, e.g. encoding GluR1 and calcium calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II alpha. Consistent with a granule function of conveying translationally silenced mRNA, RARalpha inhibits translation initiation, independent of 7-methylguanylate cap or poly(A) tail, and prompts mRNA redistribution to silencing ribonucleoprotein particles. These data afford a mechanism for rapid stimulation of dendritic growth by all-trans-retinoic acid and reveal that the ligand-dependent transcription factor RARalpha also regulates translation.

J. Biol. Chem. 283:20841-20847(2008) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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