Accumulation of polyribosomes in dendritic spine heads, but not bases and necks, during memory consolidation depends on cap-dependent translation initiation

Linnaea E. Ostroff, Benjamin Botsford, Sofya Gindina, Kiriana K. Cowansage, Joseph E. Ledoux, Eric Klann, Charles Hoeffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Translation in dendrites is believed to support synaptic changes during memory consolidation. Although translational control mechanisms are fundamental mediators of memory, little is known about their role in local translation. We previously found that polyribosomes accumulate in dendritic spines of the adult rat lateral amygdala (LA) during consolidation of aversive pavlovian conditioning and that this memory requires cap-dependent initiation, a primary point of translational control in eukaryotic cells. Here we used serial electron microscopy reconstructions to quantify polyribosomes in LA dendrites when consolidation was blocked by the cap-dependent initiation inhibitor 4EGI-1. We found that 4EGI-1 depleted polyribosomes in dendritic shafts and selectively prevented their upregulation in spine heads, but not bases and necks, during consolidation. Cap-independent upregulation was specific to spines with small, astrocyte-associated synapses. Our results reveal that cap-dependent initiation is involved in local translation during learning and that local translational control varies with synapse type.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1862-1872
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 15 2017



  • Cap-dependent translation
  • Local translation
  • Pavlovian conditioning
  • Polyribosomes
  • Serial electron microscopy
  • Structural plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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