RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) are associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), but the underlying disease mechanisms remain unclear. In an unbiased screen in Drosophila for RBPs that genetically interact with TDP-43, we found that downregulation of the mRNA export factor Ref1 (fly orthologue to human ALYREF) mitigated TDP-43 induced toxicity. Further, Ref1 depletion also reduced toxicity caused by expression of the C9orf72 GGGGCC repeat expansion. Ref1 knockdown lowered the mRNA levels for these related disease genes and reduced the encoded proteins with no effect on a wild-type Tau disease transgene or a control transgene. Interestingly, expression of TDP-43 or the GGGGCC repeat expansion increased endogenous Ref1 mRNA levels in the fly brain. Further, the human orthologue ALYREF was upregulated by immunohistochemistry in ALS motor neurons, with the strongest upregulation occurring in ALS cases harboring the GGGGCC expansion in C9orf72. These data support ALYREF as a contributor to ALS/FTD and highlight its downregulation as a potential therapeutic target that may affect co-existing disease etiologies.