Posttranscriptional mechanisms provide powerful means to expand the coding power of genomes. In nervous systems, alternative splicing has emerged as a fundamental mechanism not only for the diversification of protein isoforms but also for the spatiotemporal control of transcripts. Thus, alternative splicing programs play instructive roles in the development of neuronal cell type-specific properties, neuronal growth, self-recognition, synapse specification, and neuronal network function. Here we discuss the most recent genome-wide efforts on mapping RNA codes and RNA-binding proteins for neuronal alternative splicing regulation. We illustrate how alternative splicing shapes key steps of neuronal development, neuronal maturation, and synaptic properties. Finally, we highlight efforts to dissect the spatiotemporal dynamics of alternative splicing and their potential contribution to neuronal plasticity and the mature nervous system. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology Volume 34 is October 6, 2018. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
Journal: Annual review of cell and developmental biology