Co-transport of the nuclear-encoded Cox7c mRNA with mitochondria along axons occurs through a coding-region-dependent mechanism

Bar Cohen, Topaz Altman, Adi Golani-Armon, Anca F. Savulescu, Amjd Ibraheem, Musa M. Mhlanga, Eran Perlson, Yoav S. Arava

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Nuclear-encoded mitochondrial protein mRNAs have been found to be localized and locally translated within neuronal processes. However, the mechanism of transport for those mRNAs to distal locations is not fully understood. Here, we describe axonal co-transport of Cox7c with mitochondria. Fractionation analysis and single-molecule fluorescence in situ hybridization (smFISH) assay revealed that endogenous mRNA encoding Cox7c was preferentially associated with mitochondria in a mouse neuronal cell line and within mouse primary motor neuron axons, whereas other mRNAs that do not encode mitochondrial protein were much less associated. Live-cell imaging of MS2-tagged Cox7c mRNA further confirmed the preferential colocalization and co-transport of Cox7c mRNA with mitochondria in motor neuron axons. Intriguingly, the coding region, rather than the 3' untranslated region (UTR), was the key domain for the co-transport. Our results reveal that Cox7c mRNA can be transported with mitochondria along significant distances and that its coding region is a major recognition feature. This is consistent with the idea that mitochondria can play a vital role in spatial regulation of the axonal transcriptome at distant neuronal sites.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Volume135
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Aug 2022

Keywords

  • Axonal transport
  • Nuclear-encoded mitochondrial protein
  • mRNA localization

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