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The RNA-binding protein FUS/TLS undergoes calcium-mediated nuclear egress during excitotoxic stress and is required for GRIA2 mRNA processing

  • Tischbein, Maeve
  • Baron, Desiree M.
  • Lin, Yen-Chen
  • Gall, Katherine V.
  • Landers, John E.
  • Fallini, Claudia
  • Bosco, Daryl A.
Publication Date
May 15, 2019
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Excitotoxic levels of glutamate represent a physiological stress that is strongly linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neurological disorders. Emerging evidence indicates a role for neurodegenerative disease-linked RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) in the cellular stress response. However, the relationships between excitotoxicity, RBP function, and disease have not been explored. Here, using primary cortical and motor neurons, we found that excitotoxicity induced the translocation of select ALS-linked RBPs from the nucleus to the cytoplasm within neurons. RBPs affected by excitotoxicity included TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) and, most robustly, fused in sarcoma/translocated in liposarcoma (FUS/TLS). We noted that FUS is translocated through a calcium-dependent mechanism and that its translocation coincides with striking alterations in nucleocytoplasmic transport. Further, glutamate-induced up-regulation of glutamate ionotropic receptor AMPA type subunit 2 (GRIA2) in neurons depended on FUS expression, consistent with a functional role for FUS in excitotoxic stress. These findings reveal molecular links among prominent factors in neurodegenerative diseases, namely excitotoxicity, disease-associated RBPs, and nucleocytoplasmic transport.

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