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ABSTRACT: Local protein synthesis plays an essential role in the regulation of various aspects of axonal and dendritic function in adult neurons. At present, however, there is no direct evidence that local protein translation is functionally contributing to neuronal outgrowth. Here, we identified the mRNA encoding the actin-binding protein beta-thymosin as one of the most abundant transcripts in neurites of outgrowing neurons in culture. Beta-thymosin mRNA is not evenly distributed in neurites, but appears to accumulate at distinct sites such as turning points and growth cones. Using double-stranded RNA knockdown, we show that reducing beta-thymosin mRNA levels results in a significant increase in neurite outgrowth, both in neurites of intact cells and in isolated neurites. Together, our data demonstrate that local synthesis of beta-thymosin is functionally involved in regulating neuronal outgrowth.
Journal of Neuroscience 02/2006; 26(1):152-7. · 6.91 Impact Factor