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Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 2013 Aug;39(5):553-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2990.2012.01300.x.

Transportin 1 colocalization with Fused in Sarcoma (FUS) inclusions is not characteristic for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-FUS confirming disrupted nuclear import of mutant FUS and distinguishing it from frontotemporal lobar degeneration with FUS inclusions.

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KHP Centre for Neurodegeneration Research, Institute of Psychiatry Department of Clinical Neuropathology, King's College London, London, UK.



Transportin 1 (TNPO 1) is an abundant component of the Fused in Sarcoma (FUS)-immunopositive inclusions seen in a subgroup of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD-FUS). TNPO 1 has been shown to bind to the C-terminal nuclear localizing signal (NLS) of FUS and mediate its nuclear import. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)-linked C-terminal mutants disrupt TNPO 1 binding to the NLS and impair nuclear import in cell culture. If this held true for human ALS then we predicted that FUS inclusions in patients with C-terminal FUS mutations would not colocalize with TNPO 1.


Expression of TNPO 1 and colocalization with FUS was studied in the frontal cortex of FTLD-FUS (n = 3) and brain and spinal cord of ALS-FUS (n = 3), ALS-C9orf72 (n = 3), sporadic ALS (n = 7) and controls (n = 7). Expression levels and detergent solubility of TNPO 1 was measured by Western blot.


Aggregates of TNPO 1 were abundant and colocalized with FUS inclusions in the cortex of all FTLD-FUS cases. In contrast, no TNPO 1-positive aggregates or FUS colocalization was evident in two-thirds, ALS-FUS cases and was rare in one ALS-FUS case. Nor were they present in C9orf72 or sporadic ALS. No increase in the levels of TNPO 1 was seen in Western blots of spinal cord tissues from all ALS cases compared with controls.


These findings confirm that C-terminal FUS mutations prevent TNPO 1 binding to the NLS, inhibiting nuclear import and promoting cytoplasmic aggregation. The presence of TNPO 1 in wild-type FUS aggregates in FTLD-FUS distinguishes the two pathologies and implicates different disease mechanisms.


ALS; FTLD; FUS; TNPO 1; Transportin 1

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