Fragile X-related tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS) is a neurodegenerative disease caused by CGG triplet repeat expansions in FMR1, which elicit repeat-associated non-AUG (RAN) translation and produce the toxic protein FMRpolyG. We show that FMRpolyG interacts with pathogenic CGG repeat-derived RNA G-quadruplexes (CGG-G4RNA), propagates cell to cell, and induces neuronal dysfunction. The FMRpolyG polyglycine domain has a prion-like property, preferentially binding to CGG-G4RNA. Treatment with 5-aminolevulinic acid, which is metabolized to protoporphyrin IX, inhibited RAN translation of FMRpolyG and CGG-G4RNA-induced FMRpolyG aggregation, ameliorating aberrant synaptic plasticity and behavior in FXTAS model mice. Thus, we present a novel therapeutic strategy to target G4RNA prionoids.
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