Barbee SA, Estes PS, Cziko AM, Hillebrand J, Luedeman RA, Coller JM, Johnson N, Howlett IC, Geng C, Ueda R, Brand AH, Newbury SF, Wilhelm JE, Levine RB, Nakamura A, Parker R, Ramaswami M.
Local control of mRNA translation modulates neuronal development, synaptic plasticity, and memory formation. A poorly understood aspect of this control is the role and composition of ribonucleoprotein (RNP) particles that mediate transport and translation of neuronal RNAs. Here, we show that staufen- and FMRP-containing RNPs in Drosophila neurons contain proteins also present in somatic "P bodies," including the RNA-degradative enzymes Dcp1p and Xrn1p/Pacman and crucial components of miRNA (argonaute), NMD (Upf1p), and general translational repression (Dhh1p/Me31B) pathways. Drosophila Me31B is shown to participate (1) with an FMRP-associated, P body protein (Scd6p/trailer hitch) in FMRP-driven, argonaute-dependent translational repression in developing eye imaginal discs; (2) in dendritic elaboration of larval sensory neurons; and (3) in bantam miRNA-mediated translational repression in wing imaginal discs. These results argue for a conserved mechanism of translational control critical to neuronal function and open up new experimental avenues for understanding the regulation of mRNA function within neurons.