Lysine acetylation regulates the RNA binding, subcellular localization and inclusion formation of FUS

Alexandra Arenas, Jing Chen, Lisha Kuang, Kelly R. Barnett, Edward J. Kasarskis, Jozsef Gal, Haining Zhu

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20 Scopus citations


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by the preferential death of motor neurons. Approximately 10% of ALS cases are familial and 90% are sporadic. Fused in sarcoma (FUS) is a ubiquitously expressed RNA-binding protein implicated in familial ALS and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). The physiological function and pathological mechanism of FUS are not well understood, particularly whether post-translational modifications play a role in regulating FUS function. In this study, we discovered that FUS was acetylated at lysine-315/316 (K315/K316) and lysine-510 (K510) residues in two distinct domains. Located in the nuclear localization sequence, K510 acetylation disrupted the interaction between FUS and Transportin-1, resulting in the mislocalization of FUS in the cytoplasm and formation of stress granule-like inclusions. Located in the RNA recognition motif, K315/K316 acetylation reduced RNA binding to FUS and decreased the formation of cytoplasmic inclusions. Treatment with deacetylase inhibitors also significantly reduced the inclusion formation in cells expressing ALS mutation P525L. More interestingly, familial ALS patient fibroblasts showed higher levels of FUS K510 acetylation as compared with healthy controls. Lastly, CREB-binding protein/p300 acetylated FUS, whereas both sirtuins and histone deacetylases families of lysine deacetylases contributed to FUS deacetylation. These findings demonstrate that FUS acetylation regulates the RNA binding, subcellular localization and inclusion formation of FUS, implicating a potential role of acetylation in the pathophysiological process leading to FUS-mediated ALS/FTD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2684-2697
Number of pages14
JournalHuman Molecular Genetics
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 15 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke (R01NS077284 to H.Z.); Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA352743 to H.Z.); Department of Veteran Affairs Merit Review (I01 BX002149 to H.Z.); National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (R21 NS095299 to J.G.). National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Training (T32ES07266); University of Kentucky College of Medicine Fellowship for Excellence in Graduate Research (to A.A). Molecular graphics program ChimeraX is developed by the Resource for Biocomputing, Visualization, and Informatics at the University of California, San Francisco, with support from National Institutes of Health (R01-GM129325) and the Office of Cyber Infrastructure and Computational Biology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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