Gene mutations causing cytoplasmic mislocalization of the RNA-binding protein FUS, lead to severe forms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Cytoplasmic accumulation of FUS is also observed in other diseases, with unknown consequences. Here, we show that cytoplasmic mislocalization of FUS drives behavioral abnormalities in knock-in mice, including locomotor hyperactivity and alterations in social interactions, in the absence of widespread neuronal loss. Mechanistically, we identified a profound increase in neuronal activity in the frontal cortex of Fus knock-in mice in vivo. Importantly, RNAseq analysis suggested involvement of defects in inhibitory neurons, that was confirmed by ultrastructural and morphological defects of inhibitory synapses and increased synaptosomal levels of mRNAs involved in inhibitory neurotransmission.
Thus, cytoplasmic FUS triggers inhibitory synaptic deficits, leading to increased neuronal activity and behavioral phenotypes. FUS mislocalization may trigger deleterious phenotypes beyond motor neuron impairment in ALS, but also in other neurodegenerative diseases with FUS mislocalization.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience