Engineered protein disaggregases mitigate toxicity of aberrant prion-like fusion proteins underlying sarcoma

Jeremy J. Ryan, Macy L. Sprunger, Kayla Holthaus, James Shorter and Meredith E. Jackrel. Journal of Biological Chemistry, Volume 294, Issue 29, 2019, Pages 11286-11296 Read More


FUS and EWSR1 are RNA-binding proteins with prion-like domains (PrLDs) that aggregate in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). The FUS and EWSR1 genes are also prone to chromosomal translocation events, which result in aberrant fusions between portions of the PrLDs of FUS and EWSR1 and the transcription factors CHOP and FLI. The resulting fusion proteins, FUS-CHOP and EWSFLI, drive aberrant transcriptional programs that underpin liposarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma, respectively. The translocated PrLDs alter the expression profiles of these proteins and promote their phase separation and aggregation. Here, we report the development of yeast models of FUS-CHOP and EWS-FLI toxicity and aggregation. These models recapitulated several salient features of sarcoma patient cells harboring the FUSCHOP and EWS-FLI translocations. To reverse FUS and EWSR1 aggregation, we have explored Hsp104, a hexameric AAA+ protein disaggregase from yeast. Previously, we engineered potentiated Hsp104 variants to suppress the proteotoxicity, aggregation, and mislocalization ofFUSand other proteins that aggregate in ALS/FTD and Parkinson’s disease. Potentiated Hsp104 variants that robustly suppressed FUS toxicity and aggregation also suppressed the toxicity and aggregation of FUS-CHOP and EWS-FLI. We suggest that these new yeast models are powerful platforms for screening for modulators of FUS-CHOP and EWS-FLI phase separation. Moreover, Hsp104 variants might be employed to combat the toxicity and phase separation of aberrant fusion proteins involved in sarcoma. © 2019 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Inc. All rights reserved.

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Posted on October 14, 2019
Posted in: HPAN, Neurodegeneration, Publications Authors: