Journal of Neural Transmission

, Volume 125, Issue 4, pp 591–613 | Cite as

Prion-like properties of disease-relevant proteins in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

  • S. Bräuer
  • V. Zimyanin
  • A. Hermann
High Impact Review in Neuroscience, Neurology or Psychiatry - Review Article


The hallmark of age-related neurodegenerative diseases is the appearance of cellular protein deposits and spreading of this pathology throughout the central nervous system. Growing evidence has shown the involvement and critical role of proteins with prion-like properties in the formation of these characteristic cellular aggregates. Prion-like domains of such proteins with their proposed function in the organization of membraneless organelles are prone for misfolding and promoting further aggregation. Spreading of these toxic aggregates between cells and across tissues can explain the progression of clinical phenotypes and pathology in a stereotypical manner, characteristic for almost every neurodegenerative disease. Here, we want to review the current evidence for the role of prion-like mechanisms in classical neurodegenerative diseases and ALS in particular. We will also discuss an intriguingly central role of the protein TDP-43 in the majority of cases of this devastating disease.


Neurodegenerative disease Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis Motor neuron disease TDP-43 FUS Prion-like properties Disease spreading Strains 



This work was supported, in part, the NOMIS foundation and the Helmholtz Virtual Institute “RNA dysmetabolism in ALS and FTD (VH-VI-510)” to A.H.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurologyTechnische Universität DresdenDresdenGermany
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyStädtisches Klinikum DresdenDresdenGermany
  3. 3.Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD)Technische Universität Dresden and German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE)DresdenGermany

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