Pur-alpha functionally interacts with FUS carrying ALS-associated mutations

M. Di Salvio, V. Piccinni, V. Gerbino, F. Mantoni, S. Camerini, J. Lenzi, A. Rosa, L. Chellini, F. Loreni, M. T. Carrì, I. Bozzoni, M. Cozzolino, G. Cestra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder due to motor neuron loss. Fused in sarcoma (FUS) protein carrying ALS-associated mutations localizes to stress granules and causes their coalescence into larger aggregates. Here we show that Pur-alpha physically interacts with mutated FUS in an RNA-dependent manner. Pur-alpha colocalizes with FUS carrying mutations in stress granules of motoneuronal cells differentiated from induced pluripotent stem cells and that are derived from ALS patients. We observe that both Pur-alpha and mutated FUS upregulate phosphorylation of the translation initiation factor eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 alpha and consistently inhibit global protein synthesis. In vivo expression of Pur-alpha in different Drosophila tissues significatively exacerbates the neurodegeneration caused by mutated FUS. Conversely, the downregulation of Pur-alpha in neurons expressing mutated FUS significatively improves fly climbing activity. All these findings suggest that Pur-alpha, through the control of mRNA translation, might be involved in the pathogenesis of ALS associated with the mutation of FUS, and that an alteration of protein synthesis may be directly implicated in the disease. Finally, in vivo RNAi-mediated ablation of Pur-alpha produced locomotion defects in Drosophila, indicating a pivotal role for this protein in the motoneuronal function.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1943
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Immunology
  • Cancer Research
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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