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Title: RNA dysregulation in models of frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Author: Humphrey, Jack
ISNI:       0000 0004 7660 8207
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are two rare but devastating neurodegenerative diseases that share pathological features and genetic factors. A central question in both diseases is the role of the RNA-binding proteins transactive response DNA-binding protein 43kDa (TDP-43) and fused in sarcoma (FUS). These proteins play a vital role in RNA regulation in all cells but in diseased neurons they alter their cellular localisation to form potentially pathogenic aggregates. This process can be linked to rare genetic mutations in the TARDBP and FUS genes, although most cases of ALS and FTD have no known genetic cause. My work uses the revolutionary technology of RNA sequencing to measure and compare gene expression and RNA splicing in different cellular and animal models of sporadic and genetic disease. Here I present the results of four studies that investigate the biology of TDP-43 and FUS, assessing both their normal cellular roles and the impact of rare disease-causing mutations. In these projects I analyse RNA sequencing data to discover novel gene expression and RNA splicing phenomena. This includes the repression of cryptic splicing by TDP-43 but not FUS, the progressive downregulation of mitochondrial and ribosomal transcripts in a mouse model of FUS ALS, a gain of splicing function by TDP-43 mutations affecting constitutive exon splicing, and widespread changes in intron retention caused by FUS knockout or aggressive FUS mutations. I also discover a novel mechanism for how FUS might regulate its own translation. This work expands on what is currently known about the roles in RNA regulation for TDP- 43 and FUS and provides new avenues for understanding both the causes and progression of ALS and FTD.
Supervisor: Isaacs, A. ; Plagnol, V. ; Fratta, P. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available