The intronic C9orf72 G4C2 expansion, the most common genetic cause of ALS and FTD, produces sense- and antisense-expansion RNAs and six dipeptide repeat-associated, non-ATG (RAN) proteins, but their roles in disease are unclear. We generated high-affinity human antibodies targeting GA or GP RAN proteins. These antibodies cross the blood-brain barrier and co-localize with intracellular RAN aggregates in C9-ALS/FTD BAC mice. In cells, α-GA1 interacts with TRIM21, and α-GA1 treatment reduced GA levels, increased GA turnover, and decreased RAN toxicity and co-aggregation of proteasome and autophagy proteins to GA aggregates. In C9-BAC mice, α-GA1 reduced GA as well as GP and GR proteins, improved behavioral deficits, decreased neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration, and increased survival. Glycosylation of the Fc region of α-GA1 is important for cell entry and efficacy. These data demonstrate that RAN proteins drive C9-ALS/FTD in C9-BAC transgenic mice and establish a novel therapeutic approach for C9orf72 ALS/FTD and other RAN-protein diseases.
Keywords: BAC transgenic mice; C9orf72 ALS/FTD; G4C2 repeat expansion; RAN proteins; human antibody; immunotherapy; microsatellite expansion; proteasome and autophagy; protein co-aggregation; repeat associated non-ATG (RAN) translation.
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