Arginine-rich dipeptide repeat proteins (R-DPRs), abnormal translational products of a GGGGCC hexanucleotide repeat expansion in C9ORF72, play a critical role in C9ORF72-related amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), the most common genetic form of the disorders (c9ALS/FTD). R-DPRs form liquid condensates in vitro, induce stress granule formation in cultured cells, aggregate, and sometimes coaggregate with TDP-43 in postmortem tissue from patients with c9ALS/FTD. However, how these processes are regulated is unclear. Here, we show that loss of poly(ADP-ribose) (PAR) suppresses neurodegeneration in c9ALS/FTD fly models and neurons differentiated from patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells. Mechanistically, PAR induces R-DPR condensation and promotes R-DPR-induced stress granule formation and TDP-43 aggregation. Moreover, PAR associates with insoluble R-DPR and TDP-43 in postmortem tissue from patients. These findings identified PAR as a promoter of R-DPR toxicity and thus a potential target for treating c9ALS/FTD.
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