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, 1708, 207-219

Novel Roles of Drosophila FUS and Aub Responsible for piRNA Biogenesis in Neuronal Disorders


Novel Roles of Drosophila FUS and Aub Responsible for piRNA Biogenesis in Neuronal Disorders

Keiko Tsuji Wakisaka et al. Brain Res.


piRNAs, small non-coding RNAs, were considered to be restricted to germline cells. Although they have recently been detected in somatic cells including neurons, it remains unclear how piRNA biogenesis is involved in neuronal diseases. We herein examined the possible roles of Aubergine (Aub), a Piwi-family protein (PIWI) responsible for piRNA biogenesis, in the neuronal disorders, using the Cabeza (Caz) knockdown Drosophila. Caz is a Drosophila homologue of FUS, which is one of the genes causing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Aub overexpression enhanced the mobility defects accompanied by anatomical defects in motoneurons at neuromuscular junctions induced by the neuron-specific knockdown of Caz. In order to elucidate the underlying mechanisms, we examined pre-piRNA and mature-size piRNA levels under these conditions. qRT-PCR and RNA-seq analyses revealed that the Caz knockdown increased pre-piRNA levels, but reduced mature-size piRNA levels in the central nervous system (CNS), suggesting a role in the pre-piRNAs production. Aub overexpression did not increase mature-size piRNA levels. These results suggest that the accumulated pre-piRNAs are abnormal abortive pre-piRNAs that cannot be further processed by slicers, including Aub. We also demonstrated a relationship between Caz and pre-piRNAs in the CNS by RNA immunoprecipitation. Aub overexpression induced the abnormal cytoplasmic localization of Caz. Based on these results, we propose a model in which Caz knockdown-induced abnormal pre-piRNAs associate with Caz, then translocate and accumulate in the cytoplasm, a process that may be mediated by Aub. The novel roles for Caz and Aub demonstrated herein using the Caz-knockdown fly will contribute to a deeper understanding of the pathogenesis of ALS.

Keywords: ALS; Aub; Cytoplasmic localization; Drosophila FUS; Neuronal disorder; Precursor piRNAs.

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