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ALS/FTD-associated FUS activates GSK-3β to disrupt the VAPB-PTPIP51 interaction and ER-mitochondria associations

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Original languageEnglish
Article numbere201541726
Pages (from-to)1326-1342
JournalEMBO Reports
Issue number9
Early online date14 Jul 2016
Accepted/In press13 Jun 2016
E-pub ahead of print14 Jul 2016
Published1 Sep 2016


King's Authors


Defective FUS metabolism is strongly associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia (ALS/FTD), but the mechanisms linking FUS to disease are not properly understood. However, many of the functions disrupted in ALS/FTD are regulated by signalling between the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and mitochondria. This signalling is facilitated by close physical associations between the two organelles that are mediated by binding of the integral ER protein VAPB to the outer mitochondrial membrane protein PTPIP51, which act as molecular scaffolds to tether the two organelles. Here, we show that FUS disrupts the VAPB-PTPIP51 interaction and ER-mitochondria associations. These disruptions are accompanied by perturbation of Ca2+ uptake by mitochondria following its release from ER stores, which is a physiological read-out of ER-mitochondria contacts. We also demonstrate that mitochondrial ATP production is impaired in FUS-expressing cells; mitochondrial ATP production is linked to Ca2+ levels. Finally, we demonstrate that the FUS-induced reductions to ER-mitochondria associations and are linked to activation of glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β), a kinase already strongly associated with ALS/FTD.

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