Functional characterization of a FUS mutant zebrafish line as a novel genetic model for ALS

ALS
08/05/2020

Bourefis AR, et al. Neurobiol Dis 2020.

ABSTRACT

Mutations in Fused in sarcoma (FUS), an RNA-binding protein, are known to cause Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). However, molecular mechanisms due to loss of FUS function remain unclear and controversial. Here, we report the characterization and phenotypic analysis of a deletion mutant of the unique FUS orthologue in zebrafish where Fus protein levels are depleted. The homozygous mutants displayed a reduced lifespan as well as impaired motor abilities associated with specific cellular


deficits, including decreased motor neurons length and neuromuscular junctions (NMJ) fragmentation. Furthermore, we demonstrate that these cellular impairments are linked to the misregulation of mRNA expression of acetylcholine receptor (AChR) subunits and histone deacetylase 4, markers of denervation and reinnervation processes observed in ALS patients. In addition, fus loss of function alters tau transcripts favoring the expression of small tau isoforms. Overall, this new animal model extends our knowledge on FUS and supports the relevance of FUS loss of function in ALS physiopathology.