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This article is the author's final published version in Molecular Neurodegeneration, Volume 19, Issue 1, 2024, Article number 46.

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Copyright © The Author(s) 2024


RNA binding proteins have emerged as central players in the mechanisms of many neurodegenerative diseases. In particular, a proteinopathy of fused in sarcoma (FUS) is present in some instances of familial Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and about 10% of sporadic Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). Here we establish that focal injection of sonicated human FUS fibrils into brains of mice in which ALS-linked mutant or wild-type human FUS replaces endogenous mouse FUS is sufficient to induce focal cytoplasmic mislocalization and aggregation of mutant and wild-type FUS which with time spreads to distal regions of the brain. Human FUS fibril-induced FUS aggregation in the mouse brain of humanized FUS mice is accelerated by an ALS-causing FUS mutant relative to wild-type human FUS. Injection of sonicated human FUS fibrils does not induce FUS aggregation and subsequent spreading after injection into naïve mouse brains containing only mouse FUS, indicating a species barrier to human FUS aggregation and its prion-like spread. Fibril-induced human FUS aggregates recapitulate pathological features of FTLD including increased detergent insolubility of FUS and TAF15 and amyloid-like, cytoplasmic deposits of FUS that accumulate ubiquitin and p62, but not TDP-43. Finally, injection of sonicated FUS fibrils is shown to exacerbate age-dependent cognitive and behavioral deficits from mutant human FUS expression. Thus, focal seeded aggregation of FUS and further propagation through prion-like spread elicits FUS-proteinopathy and FTLD-like disease progression.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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