Mutations in a proline-rich-repeat region (PRR) of UBQLN2 cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)/frontotemporal dementia (FTD); however, neither the normal functions of the PRR nor impacts of ALS-associated mutations within it are well understood.
Mutations in the UBQLN2 gene, which encodes a member of the ubiquitin-like protein family (ubiquilin-2), have been identified in patients with dominant X-linked amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and ALS with frontotemporal dementia (FTD).
UBQLN2 was found to be a potent regulator of the levels of the FTD-linked secretory factor progranulin, possibly via the endosomal system, and ALS-linked mutations disturbed these functional consequences.
As part of an established exome sequencing program to identify disease genes in familial ALS, we identified a novel missense UBQLN2 mutation (c.1460C>T, p.T487I) in 2 apparently unrelated multigenerational ALS families with no evidence of frontotemporal dementia.
Genes linked to rare cases of familial ALS and/or FTD, like FUS, TARDBP, OPTN, and UBQLN2 may converge onto a unifying pathogenic pathway and thereby provide novel therapeutic targets common to a spectrum of etiologically diverse forms of ALS and ALS-FTD.