UMMS Affiliation

Department of Neurology

Publication Date


Document Type



Biochemical Phenomena, Metabolism, and Nutrition | Genetic Phenomena | Nervous System Diseases | Neuroscience and Neurobiology


Hexanucleotide repeat expansion in C9ORF72 is the most frequent cause of both amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Here we demonstrate that the repeat-associated non-AUG (RAN) translation of (GGGGCC) n -containing RNAs into poly-dipeptides can initiate in vivo without a 5'-cap. The primary RNA substrate for RAN translation of C9ORF72 sense repeats is shown to be the spliced first intron, following its excision from the initial pre-mRNA and transport to the cytoplasm. Cap-independent RAN translation is shown to be upregulated by various stress stimuli through phosphorylation of the alpha subunit of eukaryotic initiation factor-2 (eIF2alpha), the core event of an integrated stress response (ISR). Compounds inhibiting phospho-eIF2alpha-signaling pathways are shown to suppress RAN translation. Since the poly-dipeptides can themselves induce stress, these findings support a feedforward loop with initial repeat-mediated toxicity enhancing RAN translation and subsequent production of additional poly-dipeptides through ISR, thereby promoting progressive disease.


Neurodegenerative diseases, Translation

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DOI of Published Version



Nat Commun. 2018 Jan 4;9(1):51. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-02495-z. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Nature communications

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

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