Selective dendritic localization of mRNA in Drosophila mushroom body output neurons.
Mitchell J., Smith CS., Titlow J., Otto N., van Velde P., Booth M., Davis I., Waddell S.
Memory-relevant neuronal plasticity is believed to require local translation of new proteins at synapses. Understanding this process requires the visualization of the relevant mRNAs within these neuronal compartments. Here, we used single-molecule fluorescence in situ hybridization to localize mRNAs at subcellular resolution in the adult Drosophila brain. mRNAs for subunits of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors and kinases could be detected within the dendrites of co-labeled mushroom body output neurons (MBONs) and their relative abundance showed cell specificity. Moreover, aversive olfactory learning produced a transient increase in the level of CaMKII mRNA within the dendritic compartments of the γ5β'2a MBONs. Localization of specific mRNAs in MBONs before and after learning represents a critical step towards deciphering the role of dendritic translation in the neuronal plasticity underlying behavioral change in Drosophila.