Molecular Dissection of FUS Points at Synergistic Effect of Low-Complexity Domains in Toxicity

Elke Bogaert, Steven Boeynaems, Masato Kato, Lin Guo, Thomas R. Caulfield, Jolien Steyaert, Wendy Scheveneels, Nathalie Wilmans, Wanda Haeck, Nicole Hersmus, Joost Schymkowitz, Frederic Rousseau, James Shorter, Patrick Callaerts, Wim Robberecht, Philip Van Damme, Ludo Van Den Bosch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


RNA-binding protein aggregation is a pathological hallmark of several neurodegenerative disorders, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). To gain better insight into the molecular interactions underlying this process, we investigated FUS, which is mutated and aggregated in both ALS and FTLD. We generated a Drosophila model of FUS toxicity and identified a previously unrecognized synergistic effect between the N-terminal prion-like domain and the C-terminal arginine-rich domain to mediate toxicity. Although the prion-like domain is generally considered to mediate aggregation of FUS, we find that arginine residues in the C-terminal low-complexity domain are also required for maturation of FUS in cellular stress granules. These data highlight an important role for arginine-rich domains in the pathology of RNA-binding proteins. Protein aggregation is a hallmark of ALS. Bogaert et al. describe the molecular interactions between disordered regions of the FUS protein driving its liquid phase behavior, maturation, and neurotoxicity. These findings highlight the physicochemical interactions driving FUS phase separation and give us insights into its misregulation in disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-537.e4
JournalCell reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 17 2018


  • FUS
  • LLPS
  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • frontotemporal lobar degeneration
  • intrinsically disordered protein
  • low-complexity domain
  • phase transition
  • prion-like domain
  • protein aggregation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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