MicroRNA-mediated gene silencing is a fundamental mechanism in the regulation of gene expression. It remains unclear how the efficiency of RNA silencing could be influenced by RNA-binding proteins associated with the microRNA-induced silencing complex (miRISC). Here we report that fused in sarcoma (FUS), an RNA-binding protein linked to neurodegenerative diseases including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), interacts with the core miRISC component AGO2 and is required for optimal microRNA-mediated gene silencing. FUS promotes gene silencing by binding to microRNA and mRNA targets, as illustrated by its action on miR-200c and its target ZEB1. A truncated mutant form of FUS that leads its carriers to an aggressive form of ALS, R495X, impairs microRNA-mediated gene silencing. The C. elegans homolog fust-1 also shares a conserved role in regulating the microRNA pathway. Collectively, our results suggest a role for FUS in regulating the activity of microRNA-mediated silencing.
Keywords: AGO2; ALS; Argonaute; C. elegans; FTD; FUS; RNA; gene silencing; microRNA; neurodegeneration.
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