FUS homolog TAF15 may be the fifteenth gene associated with ALS according to a new study published this week.  The international team, led by University of Pennsylvania's Aaron Gitler, PhD, found mutations in the gene in 5 out of 1,262 patients tested.  Recently implicated in ALS, TAF15 helps to produce proteins appropriately in many cell types including motor neurons.  Studies are still needed in larger groups of people with ALS to determine whether mutations in TAF15 are linked to the disease.

Keeping score. Researchers looked for RNA processing proteins that when produced in baker’s yeast, clumped up and turned lethal.  The team identified 13 proteins (green) that shared similiarities to ALS-linked FUS and TDP-43.  Adapted from Couthouis et al. (2011).  Courtesy of the National Academy of Sciences Press. All rights reserved.


Couthouis, J., et al. (2011) A yeast screen predicts new candidate genes for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi 10.1073/pnas.1109434108  Abstract Full Text

Ticozzi, N., et al. (2011) Mutational analysis reveals the FUS homolog TAF15 as a candidate gene for familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.  American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B:  Neuropsychiatric Genetics, 156(3): 285-290. Abstract Full Text (Subscription Required)