C9orf72 arginine-rich dipeptide repeat proteins disrupt karyopherin-mediated nuclear import

Lindsey R. Hayes, Lauren Duan, Kelly Bowen, Petr Kalab, Jeffrey D. Rothstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Disruption of nucleocytoplasmic transport is increasingly implicated in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases, including ALS caused by a C9orf72 hexanucleotide repeat expansion. However, the mechanism(s) remain unclear. Karyopherins, including importin b and its cargo adaptors, have been shown to co-precipitate with the C9orf72 arginine-containing dipeptide repeat proteins (R-DPRs), poly-glycine arginine (GR) and poly-proline arginine (PR), and are protective in genetic modifier screens. Here, we show that R-DPRs interact with importin b, disrupt its cargo loading, and inhibit nuclear import of importin b, importin a/b, and transportin cargoes in permeabilized mouse neurons and HeLa cells, in a manner that can be rescued by RNA. Although R-DPRs induce widespread protein aggregation in this in vitro system, transport disruption is not due to nucleocytoplasmic transport protein sequestration, nor blockade of the phenylalanine-glycine (FG)-rich nuclear pore complex. Our results support a model in which R-DPRs interfere with cargo loading on karyopherins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere51685
StatePublished - Mar 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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