Localized translation in neurites helps regulate synaptic strength and development. Dysregulation of local translation is associated with many neurological disorders. However, due to technical limitations, study of this phenomenon has largely been limited to brain regions with laminar organization of dendrites such as the hippocampus or cerebellum. It has not been examined in the cortex, a region of importance for most neurological disorders, where dendrites of each neuronal population are densely intermingled with cell bodies of others. Therefore, we have developed a novel method, SynapTRAP, which combines synaptoneurosomal fractionation with translating ribosome affinity purification to identify ribosome-bound mRNA in processes of genetically defined cell types. We demonstrate Synap-TRAP’s efficacy and report local translation in the cortex of mice, where we identify a subset of mRNAs that are translated in dendrites by neuronal ribosomes. These mRNAs have disproportionately longer lengths, enrichment for FMRP binding and G-quartets, and their genes are under greater evolutionary constraint in humans. In addition, we show that alternative splicing likely regulates this phenomenon. Overall, SynapTRAP allows for rapid isolation of cell-type-specific localized translation and is applicable to classes of previously inaccessible neuronal and non-neuronal cells in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8688-8705
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number36
StatePublished - Sep 6 2017


  • Local translation
  • SynapTRAP
  • Synaptic translation
  • Synaptoneurosomes
  • TRAP


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