Altered Tau Isoform Ratio Caused by Loss of FUS and SFPQ Function Leads to FTLD-like Phenotypes

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Abstract

Fused in sarcoma (FUS) and splicing factor, proline- and glutamine-rich (SFPQ) are RNA binding proteins that regulate RNA metabolism. We found that alternative splicing of the Mapt gene at exon 10, which generates 4-repeat tau (4R-T) and 3-repeat tau (3R-T), is regulated by interactions between FUS and SFPQ in the nuclei of neurons. Hippocampus-specific FUS- or SFPQ-knockdown mice exhibit frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD)-like behaviors, reduced adult neurogenesis, accumulation of phosphorylated tau, and hippocampal atrophy with neuronal loss through an increased 4R-T/3R-T ratio. Normalization of this increased ratio by 4R-T-specific silencing results in recovery of the normal phenotype. These findings suggest a biological link among FUS/SFPQ, tau isoform alteration, and phenotypic expression, which may function in the early pathomechanism of FTLD.

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Ishigaki, S., Fujioka, Y., Okada, Y., Riku, Y., Udagawa, T., Honda, D., … Sobue, G. (2017). Altered Tau Isoform Ratio Caused by Loss of FUS and SFPQ Function Leads to FTLD-like Phenotypes. Cell Reports, 18(5), 1118–1131. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2017.01.013

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