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Ribosome inhibition by C9ORF72-ALS/FTD-associated poly-PR and poly-GR proteins revealed by cryo-EM

By Anna B Loveland, Egor Svidritskiy, Denis Susorov, Soojin Lee, Alexander Park, Gabriel Demo, Fen-Biao Gao, Andrei A Korostelev

Posted 31 Aug 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.08.30.274597

Toxic dipeptide repeat (DPR) proteins are produced from expanded G4C2 hexanucleotide repeats in the C9ORF72 gene, which cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Two DPR proteins, poly-PR and poly-GR, repress cellular translation but the molecular mechanism remains unknown. Here we show that poly-PR and poly-GR of ≥ 20 repeats inhibit the ribosome’s peptidyl-transferase activity at nanomolar concentrations, comparable to specific translation inhibitors. High-resolution cryo-EM structures reveal that poly-PR and poly-GR block the polypeptide tunnel of the ribosome, extending into the peptidyl-transferase center. Consistent with these findings, the macrolide erythromycin, which binds in the tunnel, competes with the DPR proteins and restores peptidyl-transferase activity. Our results demonstrate that strong and specific binding of poly-PR and poly-GR in the ribosomal tunnel blocks translation, revealing the structural basis of their toxicity in C9ORF72 -ALS/FTD. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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