Nuclear-Encoded Mitochondrial mRNAs: A Powerful Force in Axonal Growth and Development


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Abstract

Axons, their growth cones, and synaptic nerve terminals are neuronal subcompartments that have high energetic needs. As such, they are enriched in mitochondria, which supply the ATP necessary to meet these demands. To date, a heterogeneous population of nuclear-encoded mitochondrial mRNAs has been identified in distal axons and growth cones. Accumulating evidence suggests that the local translation of these mRNAs is required for mitochondrial maintenance and axonal viability. Here, we review evidence that suggests a critical role for axonal translation of nuclear-encoded mitochondrial mRNAs in axonal growth and development. Additionally, we explore the role that site-specific translation at the mitochondria itself may play in this process. Finally, we briefly review the clinical implications of dysregulation of local translation of mitochondrial-related mRNAs in neurodevelopmental disorders.

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