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Title: Functional analysis of the ALS/FTD associated gene FUS using a novel in vitro genomic DNA expression system
Author: Thomas, Matthew Robert
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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Aggregations of fused in sarcoma (FUS), a multifunctional RNA processing protein, define a pathological subtype of both frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), whilst mutations in the FUS gene are causative for ALS. To model the impact of FUS mutations, expression vectors containing the entire genomic sequence of FUS, up and downstream regions, and native promoter sequences have been generated. The constructs have been tagged with an mCherry fluorescent tag, and three separate pathological mutations (R244C, R521C, and P525L) have been separately inserted. Transgenic mice have been generated using the WT and P525L FUS vectors to provide a highly physiological model of FUS in disease. Within transfected HEK293 cells, insertion of the P525L and R521C FUS mutations leads to relocalisation of FUS from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. R521C and P525L mutant FUS incorporates into cytoplasmic aggregations of untranslated mRNA and RNA binding proteins known as stress granules. The strong relocalisation seen with P525L-FUS is associated with a gain of cytotoxicity. Reversal of this cytoplasmic relocalisation by demethylation of FUS rescues this cytotoxicity, suggesting a toxic gain of cytoplasmic function in the majority of FUS mutations. By contrast, insertion of the R244C mutation leads to neither relocalisation, stress granule association, nor cytotoxicity. Notably the R244C mutation, located away from the nuclear localization domain in which the majority of FUS mutations are found, leads to the presence of smaller FUS fragments in western blot analyses. These fragments appear not to be due to splicing defects in FUS but rather are due to post-translational modifications or aberrant protein cleavage. These data suggest an alternative pathway for FUS toxicity based upon a nuclear loss of function.
Supervisor: Wade-Martins, Richard; Ansorge, Olaf Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Transgenics ; Biology (medical sciences) ; Motor neurone degenerative disease ; Neurogenetics ; Life Sciences ; Cell Biology (see also Plant sciences) ; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis ; frontotemporal dementia ; bacterial artificial chromosome ; recombineering