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 (KD = 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. © 2012 Niu et al.
Niu, C., Zhang, J., Gao, F., Yang, L., Jia, M., Zhu, H., & Gong, W. (2012). FUS-NLS/Transportin 1 Complex Structure Provides Insights into the Nuclear Targeting Mechanism of FUS and the Implications in ALS. PLoS ONE, 7(10). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0047056