TDP-43 and FUS in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia
ABSTRACT Abnormal intracellular protein aggregates comprise a key characteristic in most neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). The seminal discoveries of accumulation of TDP-43 in most cases of ALS and the most frequent form of FTD, frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitinated inclusions, followed by identification of FUS as the novel pathological protein in a small subset of patients with ALS and various FTD subtypes provide clear evidence that these disorders are related. The creation of a novel molecular classification of ALS and FTD based on the identity of the predominant protein abnormality has, therefore, been possible. The striking functional and structural similarities of TDP-43 and FUS, which are both DNA/RNA binding proteins, imply that abnormal RNA metabolism is a pivotal event, but the mechanisms leading to TDP-43 and FUS accumulation and the resulting neurodegeneration are currently unknown. Nonetheless, TDP-43 and FUS are promising candidates for the development of novel biomarker assays and targeted therapies.
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ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is the most common motor neuron disease. It is typically fatal within 2–5 years of symptom onset. The incidence of ALS is largely uniform across most parts of the world, but an increasing ALS incidence during the last decades has been suggested. Although recent genetic studies have substantially improved our understanding of the causes of ALS, especially familial ALS, an important role of non-genetic factors in ALS is recognized and needs further study. In this review, we briefly discuss several major genetic contributors to ALS identified to date, followed by a more focused discussion on the most commonly examined non-genetic risk factors for ALS. We first review factors related to lifestyle choices, including smoking, intake of antioxidants, physical fitness, body mass index, and physical exercise, followed by factors related to occupational and environmental exposures, including electromagnetic fields, metals, pesticides, β-methylamino-L-alanine, and viral infection. Potential links between ALS and other medical conditions, including head trauma, metabolic diseases, cancer, and inflammatory diseases, are also discussed. Finally, we outline several future directions aiming to more efficiently examine the role of non-genetic risk factors in ALS.Clinical Epidemiology 02/2015; 7:181-193. DOI:10.2147/CLEP.S37505
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ABSTRACT: Declining brain and neurobiological function is arguably one of the most common features of human aging. The study of conserved aging processes as well as the characterization of various neurodegenerative diseases using different genetic models such as yeast, fly, mouse, and human systems is uncovering links to non-coding RNAs. These links implicate a variety of RNA-regulatory processes, including microRNA function, paraspeckle formation, RNA-DNA hybrid regulation, nucleolar RNAs and toxic RNA clearance, amongst others. Here we highlight these connections and reveal over-arching themes or questions related to recently appreciated roles of non-coding RNA in neural function and dysfunction across lifespan.Frontiers in Genetics 01/2015; 6:87. DOI:10.3389/fgene.2015.00087
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ABSTRACT: Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by degeneration of the fronto temporal lobes and abnormal protein inclusions. It exhibits a broad clinicopathological spectrum and has been linked to mutations in seven different genes. We will provide a picture, which connects the products of these genes, albeit diverse in nature and function, in a network. Despite the paucity of information available for some of these genes, we believe that RNA processing and post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression might constitute a common theme in the network. Recent studies have unraveled the role of mutations affecting the functions of RNA binding proteins and regulation of microRNAs. This review will combine all the recent findings on genes involved in the pathogenesis of FTD, highlighting the importance of a common network of interactions in order to study and decipher the heterogeneous clinical manifestations associated with FTD. This approach could be helpful for the research of potential therapeutic strategies.Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience 01/2015; 8:9. DOI:10.3389/fnmol.2015.00009