Tang X, et al. Mol Neurodegener 2020 - Review.
Ever since a GGGGCC hexanucleotide repeat expansion mutation in C9ORF72 was identified as the most common cause of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), three competing but nonexclusive hypotheses to explain how this mutation causes diseases have been proposed and are still under debate. Recent studies in the field have tried to understand how the repeat expansion disrupts cellular physiology, which has suggested interesting convergence of these
hypotheses on downstream, functional defects in cells, such as nucleocytoplasmic transport disruption, membrane-less organelle defects, and DNA damage. These studies have not only provided an integrated view of the disease mechanism but also revealed novel cell biology implicated in neurodegeneration. Furthermore, some of the discoveries have given rise to new ideas for therapeutic development. Here, we review the research progress on cellular pathophysiology of C9ORF72-mediated ALS and FTD and its therapeutic implication. We suggest that the repeat expansion drives pathogenesis through a combination of downstream defects, of which some can be therapeutic targets.