Defects in nucleocytoplasmic transport have been identified as a key pathogenic event in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) mediated by a GGGGCC hexanucleotide repeat expansion in C9ORF72, the most common genetic cause of ALS/FTD. Furthermore, nucleocytoplasmic transport disruption has also been implicated in other neurodegenerative diseases with protein aggregation, suggesting a shared mechanism by which protein stress disrupts nucleocytoplasmic transport. Here, we show that cellular stress disrupts nucleocytoplasmic transport by localizing critical nucleocytoplasmic transport factors into stress granules, RNA/protein complexes that play a crucial role in ALS pathogenesis. Importantly, inhibiting stress granule assembly, such as by knocking down Ataxin-2, suppresses nucleocytoplasmic transport defects as well as neurodegeneration in C9ORF72-mediated ALS/FTD. Our findings identify a link between stress granule assembly and nucleocytoplasmic transport, two fundamental cellular processes implicated in the pathogenesis of C9ORF72-mediated ALS/FTD and other neurodegenerative diseases. Sequestration of key nucleocytoplasmic transport factors in stress granules exacerbates neurodegeneration, and blocking this aspect of the stress response ameliorates effects in a model of C9-ALS/FTD.
- nucleocytoplasmic transport
- stress granule
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology