Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a representative neurological disease that is known to devastate entire motor neurons within a period of just a few years. Discoveries of the specific pathologies of relevant RNA-binding proteins, including TAR DNA-binding protein-43 (TDP-43) and fused in sarcoma/translocated in liposarcoma (FUS/TLS), and the causative genes of both familial and sporadic ALS have provided crucial information that could lead to a cure. In recent ALS research the GGGGCC-repeat expansion in the C9orf72 gene was identified as one of the most important pathological findings, suggesting the significance of both nuclear dysfunction due to dipeptide repeat proteins (DPRs) and RNA toxicity (such as pathological alterations of non-coding RNAs). In research on model animals carrying ALS-related molecules, the determination of whether a factor is protective or toxic has been controversial. Herein, we review the findings regarding NEAT1 RNA and C9orf72 GGGGCC repeats associated with ALS, from the viewpoint of conversion from the protective stage in the nucleus in early-phase ALS to late-phase induction of cell death. This review will provide insights for the development of RNA effectors as novel ALS treatments.
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