Cytoplasmic aggregation of fused in sarcoma (FUS) is detected in brain regions affected by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), which compose the disease spectrum, FUS proteinopathy. To understand the pathomechanism of ALS-FTD-associated FUS, we examined the behavior and cellular properties of an ALS mouse model overexpressing FUS with nuclear localization signal deletion. Mutant FUS transgenic mice showed hyperactivity, social interactional deficits, and impaired fear memory retrieval, all of which are compatible with FTD phenotypes. Histological analyses showed decreased dendritic spine and synaptic density in the frontal cortex before neuronal loss. Examination of cultured cells confirmed that mutant but not wild-type FUS was associated with decreased dendritic growth, mRNA levels, and protein synthesis in dendrites. These data suggest that cytoplasmic FUS aggregates impair dendritic mRNA trafficking and translation, in turn leading to dendritic homeostasis disruption and the development of FTD phenotypes.
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