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Expression of Fused in sarcoma mutations in mice recapitulates the neuropathology of FUS proteinopathies and provides insight into disease pathogenesis

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      Abstract

      BackgroundMutations in the gene encoding the RNA-binding protein fused in sarcoma (FUS) can cause familial and sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and rarely frontotemproal dementia (FTD). FUS accumulates in neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCIs) in ALS patients with FUS mutations. FUS is also a major pathologic marker for a group of less common forms of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), which includes atypical FTLD with ubiquitinated inclusions (aFTLD-U), neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease (NIFID) and basophilic inclusion body disease (BIBD). These diseases are now called FUS proteinopathies, because they share this disease marker. It is unknown how FUS mutations cause disease and the role of FUS in FTD-FUS cases, which do not have FUS mutations. In this paper we report the development of somatic brain transgenic (SBT) mice using recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) to investigate how FUS mutations lead to neurodegeneration.ResultsWe compared SBT mice expressing wild-type human FUS (FUSWT), and two ALS-linked mutations: FUSR521C and FUSΔ14, which lacks the nuclear localization signal. Both FUS mutants accumulated in the cytoplasm relative to FUSWT. The degree of this shift correlated with the severity of the FUS mutation as reflected by disease onset in humans. Mice expressing the most aggressive mutation, FUSΔ14, recapitulated many aspects of FUS proteinopathies, including insoluble FUS, basophilic and eosiniphilic NCIs, and other pathologic markers, including ubiquitin, p62/SQSTM1, α-internexin, and the poly-adenylate(A)-binding protein 1 (PABP-1). However, TDP-43 did not localize to inclusions.ConclusionsOur data supports the hypothesis that ALS or FTD-linked FUS mutations cause neurodegeneration by increasing cyotplasmic FUS. Accumulation of FUS in the cytoplasm may retain RNA targets and recruit additional RNA-binding proteins, such as PABP-1, into stress-granule like aggregates that coalesce into permanent inclusions that could negatively affect RNA metabolism. Identification of mutations in other genes that cause ALS/FTD, such as C9ORF72, sentaxin, and angiogenin, lends support to the idea that defective RNA metabolism is a critical pathogenic pathway. The SBT FUS mice described here will provide a valuable platform for dissecting the pathogenic mechanism of FUS mutations, define the relationship between FTD and ALS-FUS, and help identify therapeutic targets that are desperately needed for these devastating neurodegenerative disorders.

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      Most cited references 59

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      Expanded GGGGCC hexanucleotide repeat in noncoding region of C9ORF72 causes chromosome 9p-linked FTD and ALS.

      Several families have been reported with autosomal-dominant frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), genetically linked to chromosome 9p21. Here, we report an expansion of a noncoding GGGGCC hexanucleotide repeat in the gene C9ORF72 that is strongly associated with disease in a large FTD/ALS kindred, previously reported to be conclusively linked to chromosome 9p. This same repeat expansion was identified in the majority of our families with a combined FTD/ALS phenotype and TDP-43-based pathology. Analysis of extended clinical series found the C9ORF72 repeat expansion to be the most common genetic abnormality in both familial FTD (11.7%) and familial ALS (23.5%). The repeat expansion leads to the loss of one alternatively spliced C9ORF72 transcript and to formation of nuclear RNA foci, suggesting multiple disease mechanisms. Our findings indicate that repeat expansion in C9ORF72 is a major cause of both FTD and ALS. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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        A hexanucleotide repeat expansion in C9ORF72 is the cause of chromosome 9p21-linked ALS-FTD.

        The chromosome 9p21 amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-frontotemporal dementia (ALS-FTD) locus contains one of the last major unidentified autosomal-dominant genes underlying these common neurodegenerative diseases. We have previously shown that a founder haplotype, covering the MOBKL2b, IFNK, and C9ORF72 genes, is present in the majority of cases linked to this region. Here we show that there is a large hexanucleotide (GGGGCC) repeat expansion in the first intron of C9ORF72 on the affected haplotype. This repeat expansion segregates perfectly with disease in the Finnish population, underlying 46.0% of familial ALS and 21.1% of sporadic ALS in that population. Taken together with the D90A SOD1 mutation, 87% of familial ALS in Finland is now explained by a simple monogenic cause. The repeat expansion is also present in one-third of familial ALS cases of outbred European descent, making it the most common genetic cause of these fatal neurodegenerative diseases identified to date. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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          Mutations in the FUS/TLS gene on chromosome 16 cause familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

          Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal degenerative motor neuron disorder. Ten percent of cases are inherited; most involve unidentified genes. We report here 13 mutations in the fused in sarcoma/translated in liposarcoma (FUS/TLS) gene on chromosome 16 that were specific for familial ALS. The FUS/TLS protein binds to RNA, functions in diverse processes, and is normally located predominantly in the nucleus. In contrast, the mutant forms of FUS/TLS accumulated in the cytoplasm of neurons, a pathology that is similar to that of the gene TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP43), whose mutations also cause ALS. Neuronal cytoplasmic protein aggregation and defective RNA metabolism thus appear to be common pathogenic mechanisms involved in ALS and possibly in other neurodegenerative disorders.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Department of Neuroscience, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL, USA
            [2 ]Department of Pharmacology and Neurology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA
            [3 ]Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Disease, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA
            [4 ]Department of Human Genetics, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA
            Contributors
            Journal
            Mol Neurodegener
            Mol Neurodegener
            Molecular Neurodegeneration
            BioMed Central
            1750-1326
            2012
            10 October 2012
            : 7
            : 53
            23046583
            3519790
            1750-1326-7-53
            10.1186/1750-1326-7-53
            Copyright ©2012 Verbeeck et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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