Mutations in the RNA binding protein FUS (fused in sarcoma) have been linked to a subset of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) cases. The mutations are clustered in the C-terminal nuclear localization sequence (NLS). Various FUS mutants accumulate in the cytoplasm whereas wild-type (WT) FUS is mainly nuclear. Here we investigate the effect of one ALS causing mutant (FUS-ΔNLS, also known as R495X) on pre-mRNA splicing and RNA expression using genome wide exon-junction arrays. Using a non-neuronal stable cell line with inducible FUS expression, we detected early changes in RNA composition. In particular, mutant FUS-ΔNLS increased calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II inhibitor 2 (CAMK2N2) at both mRNA and protein levels, whereas WT-FUS had no effect. Chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments showed that FUS-ΔNLS accumulated at the CAMK2N2 promoter region, whereas promoter occupation by WT-FUS remained constant. Given the loss of FUS-ΔNLS in the nucleus through the mutation-induced translocation, this increase of promoter occupancy is surprising. It indicates that, despite the obvious cytoplasmic accumulation, FUS-ΔNLS can act through a nuclear gain of function mechanism.
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