Neurons exhibit a unique degree of spatial compartmentalization and are able to maintain and remodel their proteomes independently from the cell body. While much effort has been devoted to understanding the capacity and role for local protein synthesis in dendrites and spines, local mRNA translation in mature axons, projecting over distances up to a meter, has received much less attention. Also, little is known about the spatio-temporal dynamics of axonal and dendritic gene expression as function of mRNA abundance, protein synthesis and degradation. Here, we summarize key recent findings that have shaped our knowledge of the precise location of local protein production and discuss unique strategies used by neurons to shape presynaptic and postsynaptic proteomes.
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