‘Awakened’ Transposons May Cause ALS

A recent study published in PLoS ONE suggests that transposons may be linked to ALS and FTLD. Transposons are normally only active during neurogenesis, and are silenced after neurogenesis is complete. By mining deep sequencing datasets of gene expression profiles and protein-RNA interactions, the researchers found that TDP-43 binds RNA transcripts transcribed from transposon elements. TDP-43 may potentially have a role in silencing transposons. Although the details are not fully fleshed-out, the authors suggest that transposon deregulation  – may lead to ALS and FTLD. Read more about this story here.

Although intriguing, these findings require further validation. Also, is there any link between this transposon hypothesis and the tantalizing hints around retroviruses and ALS?

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