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PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e47056. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0047056. Epub 2012 Oct 8.

FUS-NLS/Transportin 1 complex structure provides insights into the nuclear targeting mechanism of FUS and the implications in ALS.

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Laboratory of Non-coding RNA, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.


The C-terminal nuclear localization sequence of FUsed in Sarcoma (FUS-NLS) is critical for its nuclear import mediated by transportin (Trn1). Familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) related mutations are clustered in FUS-NLS. We report here the structural, biochemical and cell biological characterization of the FUS-NLS and its clinical implications. The crystal structure of the FUS-NLS/Trn1 complex shows extensive contacts between the two proteins and a unique α-helical structure in the FUS-NLS. The binding affinity between Trn1 and FUS-NLS (wide-type and 12 ALS-associated mutants) was determined. As compared to the wide-type FUS-NLS (K(D) = 1.7 nM), each ALS-associated mutation caused a decreased affinity and the range of this reduction varied widely from 1.4-fold over 700-fold. The affinity of the mutants correlated with the extent of impaired nuclear localization, and more importantly, with the duration of disease progression in ALS patients. This study provides a comprehensive understanding of the nuclear targeting mechanism of FUS and illustrates the significance of FUS-NLS in ALS.

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