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PLoS One. 2013 Apr 19;8(4):e61576. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0061576. Print 2013.

Protein arginine methyltransferase 1 and 8 interact with FUS to modify its sub-cellular distribution and toxicity in vitro and in vivo.

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Department of Neuroscience and Brain Technologies, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Genova, Italy.


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a late onset and progressive motor neuron disease. Mutations in the gene coding for fused in sarcoma/translocated in liposarcoma (FUS) are responsible for some cases of both familial and sporadic forms of ALS. The mechanism through which mutations of FUS result in motor neuron degeneration and loss is not known. FUS belongs to the family of TET proteins, which are regulated at the post-translational level by arginine methylation. Here, we investigated the impact of arginine methylation in the pathogenesis of FUS-related ALS. We found that wild type FUS (FUS-WT) specifically interacts with protein arginine methyltransferases 1 and 8 (PRMT1 and PRMT8) and undergoes asymmetric dimethylation in cultured cells. ALS-causing FUS mutants retained the ability to interact with both PRMT1 and PRMT8 and undergo asymmetric dimethylation similar to FUS-WT. Importantly, PRMT1 and PRMT8 localized to mutant FUS-positive inclusion bodies. Pharmacologic inhibition of PRMT1 and PRMT8 activity reduced both the nuclear and cytoplasmic accumulation of FUS-WT and ALS-associated FUS mutants in motor neuron-derived cells and in cells obtained from an ALS patient carrying the R518G mutation. Genetic ablation of the fly homologue of human PRMT1 (DART1) exacerbated the neurodegeneration induced by overexpression of FUS-WT and R521H FUS mutant in a Drosophila model of FUS-related ALS. These results support a role for arginine methylation in the pathogenesis of FUS-related ALS.

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