Somatodendritic Localization of Translin, a Component of the Translin/Trax RNA Binding Complex


  • Patricia M. Finkenstadt,

  • Wha-Sun Kang,

  • Mihee Jeon,

  • Eiichi Taira,

  • Weizhu Tang,

  • Jay M. Baraban

  • Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc., Philadelphia

  • Abbreviation used: CREB, cyclic AMP response element binding protein.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. J. M. Baraban at Department of Neuroscience, John Hopkins University School of Medicine, 725 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, U.S.A. E-mail:


Abstract: Recent studies implicating dendritic protein synthesis in synaptic plasticity have focused attention on identifying components of the molecular machinery involved in processing dendritic RNA. Although Translin was originally identified as a protein capable of binding single-stranded DNA, subsequent studies have demonstrated that it also binds RNAin vitro. Because previous studies indicated that Translin-containing RNA/single-stranded DNA binding complexes are highly enriched in brain, we and others have proposed that it may be involved in dendritic RNA processing. To assess this possibility, we have conducted studies aimed at defining the localization of Translin and its partner protein, Trax, in brain. In situ hybridization studies demonstrated that both Translin and Trax are expressed in neurons with prominent staining apparent in cerebellar Purkinje cells and neuronal layers of the hippocampus. Subcellular fractionation studies demonstrated that both Translin and Trax are highly enriched in the cytoplasmic fraction compared with nuclear extracts. Furthermore, immunohistochemical studies with Translin antibodies revealed prominent staining in Purkinje neuron cell bodies that extends into proximal and distal dendrites. A similar pattern of somatodendritic localization was observed in hippocampal and neocortical pyramidal neurons. These findings demonstrate that Translin is expressed in neuronal dendrites and therefore support the hypothesis that the Translin/Trax complex may be involved in dendritic RNA processing.