The DNA- and RNA-binding protein fused in sarcoma (FUS) has been pathologically and genetically linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). Cytoplasmic FUS-positive inclusions were identified in the brain and spinal cord of a subset of patients suffering with ALS/FTLD. An increasing number of reports suggest that FUS protein can behave in a prion-like manner. However, no neuropathological studies or experimental data were available regarding cell-to-cell spread of these pathological protein assemblies. In the present report, we investigated the ability of wild-type and mutant forms of FUS to transfer between neuronal cells. We combined the use of Drosophila models for FUS proteinopathies with that of the primary neuronal cultures to address neuron-to-neuron transfer of FUS proteins. Using conditional co-culture models and an optimized flow cytometry-based methodology, we demonstrated that ALS-mutant forms of FUS proteins can transfer between well-differentiated mature Drosophila neurons. These new observations support that a propagating mechanism could be applicable to FUS, leading to the sequential dissemination of pathological proteins over years.
- Drosophila primary neuronal culture
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience