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1.  TDP-1/TDP-43 Regulates Stress Signaling and Age-Dependent Proteotoxicity in Caenorhabditis elegans 
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(7):e1002806.
TDP-43 is a multifunctional nucleic acid binding protein linked to several neurodegenerative diseases including Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Frontotemporal Dementia. To learn more about the normal biological and abnormal pathological role of this protein, we turned to Caenorhabditis elegans and its orthologue TDP-1. We report that TDP-1 functions in the Insulin/IGF pathway to regulate longevity and the oxidative stress response downstream from the forkhead transcription factor DAF-16/FOXO3a. However, although tdp-1 mutants are stress-sensitive, chronic upregulation of tdp-1 expression is toxic and decreases lifespan. ALS–associated mutations in TDP-43 or the related RNA binding protein FUS activate the unfolded protein response and generate oxidative stress leading to the daf-16–dependent upregulation of tdp-1 expression with negative effects on neuronal function and lifespan. Consistently, deletion of endogenous tdp-1 rescues mutant TDP-43 and FUS proteotoxicity in C. elegans. These results suggest that chronic induction of wild-type TDP-1/TDP-43 by cellular stress may propagate neurodegeneration and decrease lifespan.
Author Summary
TAR DNA Binding Protein 43 (TDP-43) is implicated in several human age-dependent neurodegenerative disorders, but until now little was known about TDP-43's role in the aging process. Here we used the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to study the role of the TDP-43 orthologue tdp-1 in aging and neurodegeneration. In this study we discovered that tdp-1 is a stress-responsive gene acting within the Insulin/IGF signaling pathway to regulate lifespan and the response to oxidative stress. We found that, although worms missing tdp-1 were stress-sensitive, elevated expression of tdp-1 was toxic. We asked if tdp-1 also responded to the stress caused by toxic proteins found in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Using worm models for ALS, we discovered that mutant TDP-43 generated oxidative stress and induced tdp-1 expression with negative consequences on neuronal function and lifespan. Consistently, removing tdp-1 rescued toxicity in our worm ALS models. tdp-1's role in the cellular stress response likely reflects an ancient adaptation to deal with unfavorable environmental conditions that is inappropriately activated and maintained by genetic mutations leading to proteotoxic and oxidative stress. We predict that similar mechanisms may exist in humans, helping explain the involvement of TDP-43 in a growing number of neurodegenerative disorders.
Author Summary
TAR DNA Binding Protein 43 (TDP-43) is implicated in several human age-dependent neurodegenerative disorders, but until now little was known about TDP-43's role in the aging process. Here we used the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to study the role of the TDP-43 orthologue tdp-1 in aging and neurodegeneration. In this study we discovered that tdp-1 is a stress-responsive gene acting within the Insulin/IGF signaling pathway to regulate lifespan and the response to oxidative stress. We found that, although worms missing tdp-1 were stress-sensitive, elevated expression of tdp-1 was toxic. We asked if tdp-1 also responded to the stress caused by toxic proteins found in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Using worm models for ALS, we discovered that mutant TDP-43 generated oxidative stress and induced tdp-1 expression with negative consequences on neuronal function and lifespan. Consistently, removing tdp-1 rescued toxicity in our worm ALS models. tdp-1's role in the cellular stress response likely reflects an ancient adaptation to deal with unfavorable environmental conditions that is inappropriately activated and maintained by genetic mutations leading to proteotoxic and oxidative stress. We predict that similar mechanisms may exist in humans, helping explain the involvement of TDP-43 in a growing number of neurodegenerative disorders.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002806
PMCID: PMC3390363  PMID: 22792076
2.  Characterization of a series of 4-aminoquinolines that stimulate caspase-7 mediated cleavage of TDP-43 and inhibit its function 
Biochimie  2012;94(9):1974-1981.
Dysfunction of the heterogeneous ribonucleoprotein TAR DNA binding protein 43 (TDP-43) is associated with neurodegeneration in diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). Here we examine the effects of a series of 4-aminoquinolines with affinity for TDP-43 upon caspase-7-induced cleavage of TDP-43 and TDP-43 cellular function. These compounds were mixed inhibitors of biotinylated TG6 binding to TDP-43, binding to both free and occupied TDP-43. Incubation of TDP-43 and caspase-7 in the presence of these compounds stimulated caspase-7 mediated cleavage of TDP-43. This effect was antagonized by the oligonucleotide TG12, prevented by denaturing TDP-43, and exhibited a similar relation of structure to function as for the displacement of bt-TG6 binding to TDP-43. In addition, the compounds did not affect caspase-7 enzyme activity. In human neuroglioma H4 cells, these compounds lowered levels of TDP-43 and increased TDP-43 C-terminal fragments via a caspase-dependent mechanism. Subsequent experiments demonstrated that this was due to induction of caspases 3 and 7 leading to increased PARP cleavage in H4 cells with similar rank order of the potency among the compounds tests for displacement of bt-TG6 binding. Exposure to these compounds also reduced HDAC6, ATG7, and increased LC3B, consistent with the effects of TDP-43 siRNA described by other investigators. These data suggest that such compounds may be useful biochemical probes to further understand both the normal and pathological functions of TDP-43, and its cleavage and metabolism promoted by caspases.
doi:10.1016/j.biochi.2012.05.020
PMCID: PMC3402613  PMID: 22659571
TDP-43; caspase activation; mixed inhibition
3.  Ubiquilin-2 (UBQLN2) binds with high affinity to the C-terminal region of TDP-43 and modulates TDP-43 levels in H4 cells: characterization of inhibition by nucleic acids and 4-aminoquinolines 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2013;1834(6):964-971.
Recently, it was reported that mutations in the ubiqutin-like protein ubiquilin-2 (UBQLN2) are associated with X-linked amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and that both wild-type and mutant UBQLN2 can co-localize with aggregates of C-terminal fragments of TAR DNA binding protein (TDP-43). Here, we describe a high affinity interaction between UBQLN2 and TDP-43 and demonstrate that overexpression of both UBQLN2 and TDP-43 reduces levels of both exogenous and endogenous TDP-43 in human H4 cells. UBQLN2 bound with high affinity to both full length TDP-43 and a C-terminal TDP-43 fragment (261-414 aa) with KD values of 6.2 nM and 8.7 nM, respectively. Both DNA oligonucleotides and 4-aminoquinolines, which bind to TDP-43, also inhibited UBQLN2 binding to TDP-43 with similar rank order affinities compared to inhibition of oligonucleotide binding to TDP-43. Inhibitor characterization experiments demonstrated that the DNA oligonucleotides noncompetitively inhibited UBQLN2 binding to TDP-43, which is consistent with UBQLN2 binding to the C-terminal region of TDP-43. Interestingly, the 4-aminoquinolines were competitive inhibitors of UBQLN2 binding to TDP-43, suggesting that these compounds also bind to the C-terminal region of TDP-43. In support of the biochemical data, co-immunoprecipation experiments demonstrated that both TDP-43 and UBQLN2 interact in human neuroglioma H4 cells. Finally, overexpression of UBQLN2 in the presence of overexpressed full length TDP-43 or C-terminal TDP-43 (170-414) dramatically lowered levels of both full length TDP-43 and C-terminal TDP-43 fragments (CTFs). Consequently, these data suggest that UBQLN2 enhances the clearance of TDP-43 and TDP-43 CTFs and therefore may play a role in the development of TDP-43 associated neurotoxicity.
doi:10.1016/j.bbapap.2013.03.020
PMCID: PMC3960997  PMID: 23541532
TDP-43; UBQLN2; 4-aminoquinolines; protein-protein interactions
4.  The Pathological Phenotypes of Human TDP-43 Transgenic Mouse Models Are Independent of Downregulation of Mouse Tdp-43 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e69864.
Tar DNA binding protein 43 (TDP-43) is the major component of pathological deposits in frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 inclusions (FTLD-TDP) and in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). It has been reported that TDP-43 transgenic mouse models expressing human TDP-43 wild-type or ALS-associated mutations recapitulate certain ALS and FTLD pathological phenotypes. Of note, expression of human TDP-43 (hTDP-43) reduces the levels of mouse Tdp-43 (mTdp-43). However, it remained unclear whether the mechanisms through which TDP-43 induces ALS or FTLD-like pathologies resulted from a reduction in mTdp-43, an increase in hTDP-43, or a combination of both. In elucidating the role of mTdp-43 and hTDP-43 in hTDP-43 transgenic mice, we observed that reduction of mTdp-43 in non-transgenic mice by intraventricular brain injection of AAV1-shTardbp leads to a dramatic increase in the levels of splicing variants of mouse sortilin 1 and translin. However, the levels of these two abnormal splicing variants are not increased in hTDP-43 transgenic mice despite significant downregulation of mTdp-43 in these mice. Moreover, further downregulation of mTdp-43 in hTDP-43 hemizygous mice, which are asymptomatic, to the levels equivalent to that of mTdp-43 in hTDP-43 homozygous mice does not induce the pathological phenotypes observed in the homozygous mice. Lastly, the number of dendritic spines and the RNA levels of TDP-43 RNA targets critical for synapse formation and function are significantly decreased in symptomatic homozygous mice. Together, our findings indicate that mTdp-43 downregulation does not lead to a loss of function mechanism or account for the pathological phenotypes observed in hTDP-43 homozygous mice because hTDP-43 compensates for the reduction, and associated functions of mTdp-43. Rather, expression of hTDP-43 beyond a certain threshold leads to abnormal metabolism of TDP-43 RNA targets critical for neuronal structure and function, which might be responsible for the ALS or FTLD-like pathologies observed in homozygous hTDP-43 transgenic mice.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069864
PMCID: PMC3724736  PMID: 23922830
5.  Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration with TDP-43 Proteinopathy and Chromosome 9p Repeat Expansion in C9ORF72: Clinicopathologic Correlation 
Mutations in C9ORF72 resulting in expanded hexanucleotide repeats were recently reported to be the underlying genetic abnormality in chromosome 9p-linked frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TAR DNA-binding protein of 43 kD (TDP-43) proteinopathy (FTLD-TDP), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and frontotemporal lobar degeneration with motor neuron disease (FTLD-MND). Several subsequent publications described the neuropathology as being similar to that seen in cases of FTLD-TDP and ALS without C9ORF72 mutations, except that cases with mutations have p62 and ubiquitin positive, TDP-43 negative inclusions in cerebellum, hippocampus, neocortex, and basal ganglia. The identity of this protein is as yet unknown, and its significance is unclear. With the goal of potentially uncovering the significance of these TDP-43 negative inclusions, we compared the clinical, pathologic, and genetic characteristics in 5 cases of FTLD-TDP and FTLD-MND with C9ORF72 mutations to 20 cases without mutations. We confirmed the apparent specificity of p62 positive, TDP-43 negative inclusions in cerebellum, hippocampus, cortex, and basal ganglia to FTLD with C9ORF72 mutations. p62 positive, TDP-43 negative inclusions in hippocampus correlated with hippocampal atrophy, but no additional correlations were uncovered. However, although ambiguity of TDP sub-typing has previously been reported in cases with C9ORF72 mutations, this is the first report to show that although most FTLD cases with C9ORF72 mutations were TDP type B, some of the pathologic characteristics in these cases were more similar to TDP types A and C than to TDP type B FTLD cases without mutations. These features include greater cortical and hippocampal atrophy, greater ventricular dilatation, more neuronal loss and gliosis in temporal lobe and striatum, and TDP-43 positive fine neuritic profiles in the hippocampus in FTLD cases with C9ORF72 mutations compared to FTLD-TDP type B cases without mutations, implying that the C9ORF72 mutation modifies the pathologic phenotype of FTLD-TDP type B.
doi:10.1111/j.1440-1789.2012.01332.x
PMCID: PMC3449045  PMID: 22702520
C9ORF72; repeat expansion; p62; ubiquitin; TDP-43; FTLD; ALS
6.  Astrocytic TDP-43 Pathology in Alexander Disease 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2014;34(19):6448-6458.
Alexander disease (AxD) is a rare neurodegenerative disorder characterized pathologically by the presence of eosinophilic inclusions known as Rosenthal fibers (RFs) within astrocytes, and is caused by dominant mutations in the coding region of the gene encoding glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). GFAP is the major astrocytic intermediate filament, and in AxD patient brain tissue GFAP is a major component of RFs. TAR DNA binding protein of 43 kDa (TDP-43) is the major pathological protein in almost all cases of the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and ∼50% of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), designated as FTLD-TDP. In ALS and FTLD-TDP, TDP-43 becomes insoluble, ubiquitinated, and pathologically phosphorylated and accumulates in cytoplasmic inclusions in both neurons and glia of affected brain and spinal cord regions. Previously, TDP-43 was detected in RFs of human pilocytic astrocytomas; however, involvement of TDP-43 in AxD has not been determined. Here we show that TDP-43 is present in RFs in AxD patient brains, and that insoluble phosphorylated full-length and high molecular weight TDP-43 accumulates in white matter of such brains. Phosphorylated TDP-43 also accumulates in the detergent-insoluble fraction from affected brain regions of GfapR236H/+ knock-in mice, which harbor a GFAP mutation homologous to one that causes AxD in humans, and TDP-43 colocalizes with astrocytic RF pathology in GfapR236H/+ mice and transgenic mice overexpressing human wild-type GFAP. These findings suggest common pathogenic mechanisms in ALS, FTLD, and AxD, and this is the first report of TDP-43 involvement in a neurological disorder primarily affecting astrocytes.
doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0248-14.2014
PMCID: PMC4012304  PMID: 24806671
Alexander disease; astrocyte; GFAP; mouse models; neurodegeneration; TDP-43
7.  Conserved Acidic Amino Acid Residues in a Second RNA Recognition Motif Regulate Assembly and Function of TDP-43 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e52776.
Accumulating evidence suggests that pathogenic TAR DNA-binding protein (TDP)-43 fragments contain a partial RNA-recognition motif domain 2 (RRM2) in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)/frontotemporal lobar degeneration. However, the molecular basis for how this domain links to the conformation and function of TDP-43 is unclear. Previous crystal analyses have documented that the RRM2-DNA complex dimerizes under acidic and high salt conditions, mediated by the intermolecular hydrogen bonds of Glu246-Ile249 and Asp247-Asp247. The aims of this study were to investigate the roles of Glu246 and Asp247 in the molecular assembly of RRM2 under physiological conditions, and to evaluate their potential use as markers for TDP-43 misfolding due to the aberrantly exposed dimer interface. Unexpectedly, gel filtration analyses showed that, regardless of DNA interaction, the RRM2 domain remained as a stable monomer in phosphate-buffered saline. Studies using substitution mutants revealed that Glu246 and, especially, Asp247 played a crucial role in preserving the functional RRM2 monomers. Substitution to glycine at Glu246 or Asp247 induced the formation of fibrillar oligomers of RRM2 accompanied by the loss of DNA-binding affinity, which also affected the conformation and the RNA splicing function of full-length TDP-43. A novel monoclonal antibody against peptides containing Asp247 was found to react with TDP-43 inclusions of ALS patients and mislocalized cytosolic TDP-43 in cultured cells, but not with nuclear wild-type TDP-43. Our findings indicate that Glu246 and Asp247 play pivotal roles in the proper conformation and function of TDP-43. In particular, Asp247 should be studied as a molecular target with an aberrant conformation related to TDP-43 proteinopathy.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052776
PMCID: PMC3530536  PMID: 23300771
8.  Novel Mutations in TARDBP (TDP-43) in Patients with Familial Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis 
PLoS Genetics  2008;4(9):e1000193.
The TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) has been identified as the major disease protein in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin inclusions (FTLD-U), defining a novel class of neurodegenerative conditions: the TDP-43 proteinopathies. The first pathogenic mutations in the gene encoding TDP-43 (TARDBP) were recently reported in familial and sporadic ALS patients, supporting a direct role for TDP-43 in neurodegeneration. In this study, we report the identification and functional analyses of two novel and one known mutation in TARDBP that we identified as a result of extensive mutation analyses in a cohort of 296 patients with variable neurodegenerative diseases associated with TDP-43 histopathology. Three different heterozygous missense mutations in exon 6 of TARDBP (p.M337V, p.N345K, and p.I383V) were identified in the analysis of 92 familial ALS patients (3.3%), while no mutations were detected in 24 patients with sporadic ALS or 180 patients with other TDP-43–positive neurodegenerative diseases. The presence of p.M337V, p.N345K, and p.I383V was excluded in 825 controls and 652 additional sporadic ALS patients. All three mutations affect highly conserved amino acid residues in the C-terminal part of TDP-43 known to be involved in protein-protein interactions. Biochemical analysis of TDP-43 in ALS patient cell lines revealed a substantial increase in caspase cleaved fragments, including the ∼25 kDa fragment, compared to control cell lines. Our findings support TARDBP mutations as a cause of ALS. Based on the specific C-terminal location of the mutations and the accumulation of a smaller C-terminal fragment, we speculate that TARDBP mutations may cause a toxic gain of function through novel protein interactions or intracellular accumulation of TDP-43 fragments leading to apoptosis.
Author Summary
The abnormal accumulation of disease proteins in neuronal cells of the brain is a characteristic feature of many neurodegenerative diseases. Rare mutations in the genes that encode the accumulating proteins have been identified in these disorders and are crucial for the development of cell and animal models used to study neurodegeneration. Recently, the TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) was identified as the disease accumulating protein in patients with frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin inclusions (FTLD-U) and in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). TDP-43 was also found in the brains of 20–30% of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here, we evaluated whether mutations in TDP-43 cause disease in a cohort of 296 patients presenting with FTLD, ALS or AD. We identified three missense mutations in three out of 92 familial ALS patients (3.3%), and no mutations in AD or FTLD patients. All the identified mutations clustered in exon 6, which codes for a highly conserved region in the C-terminal part of the TDP-43 protein, which is known to be involved in the interaction of TDP-43 with other proteins. We conclude that mutations in TDP-43 are a rare cause of familial ALS, but so far are not found in other neurodegenerative diseases.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000193
PMCID: PMC2527686  PMID: 18802454
9.  The RNA-binding motif 45 (RBM45) protein accumulates in inclusion bodies in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 inclusions (FTLD-TDP) patients 
Acta Neuropathologica  2012;124(5):717-732.
RNA-binding protein pathology now represents one of the best characterized pathologic features of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration patients with TDP-43 or FUS pathology (FTLD-TDP and FTLD-FUS). Using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry, we identified altered levels of the RNA-binding motif 45 (RBM45) protein in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of ALS patients. This protein contains sequence similarities to TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) and fused-in-sarcoma (FUS) that are contained in cytoplasmic inclusions of ALS and FTLD-TDP or FTLD-FUS patients. To further characterize RBM45, we first verified the presence of RBM45 in CSF and spinal cord tissue extracts of ALS patients by immunoblot. We next used immunohistochemistry to examine the subcellular distribution of RBM45 and observed in a punctate staining pattern within nuclei of neurons and glia in the brain and spinal cord. We also detected RBM45 cytoplasmic inclusions in 91 % of ALS, 100 % of FTLD-TDP and 75 % of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) cases. The most extensive RBM45 pathology was observed in patients that harbor the C9ORF72 hexanucleotide repeat expansion. These RBM45 inclusions were observed in spinal cord motor neurons, glia and neurons of the dentate gyrus. By confocal microscopy, RBM45 co-localizes with ubiquitin and TDP-43 in inclusion bodies. In neurons containing RBM45 cytoplasmic inclusions we often detected the protein in a punctate pattern within the nucleus that lacked either TDP-43 or ubiquitin. We identified RBM45 using a proteomic screen of CSF from ALS and control subjects for candidate biomarkers, and link this RNA-binding protein to inclusion pathology in ALS, FTLD-TDP and AD.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00401-012-1045-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s00401-012-1045-x
PMCID: PMC3472056  PMID: 22993125
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; TDP-43; RNA-binding protein; RBM45; C9ORF72
10.  Dysregulation of the ALS-associated gene TDP-43 leads to neuronal death and degeneration in mice 
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) are characterized by cytoplasmic protein aggregates in the brain and spinal cord that include TAR-DNA binding protein 43 (TDP-43). TDP-43 is normally localized in the nucleus with roles in the regulation of gene expression, and pathological cytoplasmic aggregates are associated with depletion of nuclear protein. Here, we generated transgenic mice expressing human TDP-43 with a defective nuclear localization signal in the forebrain (hTDP-43-ΔNLS), and compared them with mice expressing WT hTDP-43 (hTDP-43-WT) to determine the effects of mislocalized cytoplasmic TDP-43 on neuronal viability. Expression of either hTDP-43-ΔNLS or hTDP-43-WT led to neuron loss in selectively vulnerable forebrain regions, corticospinal tract degeneration, and motor spasticity recapitulating key aspects of FTLD and primary lateral sclerosis. Only rare cytoplasmic phosphorylated and ubiquitinated TDP-43 inclusions were seen in hTDP-43-ΔNLS mice, suggesting that cytoplasmic inclusions were not required to induce neuronal death. Instead, neurodegeneration in hTDP-43 and hTDP-43-ΔNLS–expressing neurons was accompanied by a dramatic downregulation of the endogenous mouse TDP-43. Moreover, mice expressing hTDP-43-ΔNLS exhibited profound changes in gene expression in cortical neurons. Our data suggest that perturbation of endogenous nuclear TDP-43 results in loss of normal TDP-43 function(s) and gene regulatory pathways, culminating in degeneration of selectively vulnerable affected neurons.
doi:10.1172/JCI44867
PMCID: PMC3026736  PMID: 21206091
11.  TDP-43 neurotoxicity and protein aggregation modulated by heat shock factor and insulin/IGF-1 signaling 
Human Molecular Genetics  2011;20(10):1952-1965.
TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) plays a key role in the neurodegenerative diseases including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. The nature of the TDP-43-mediated neurotoxicity associated with these diseases is not yet understood. Here, we have established transgenic Caenorhabditis elegans models that express human TDP-43 variants in the nervous system, including the full-length wild-type (WT) and mutant proteins and a pathologic C-terminal fragment. The C. elegans models developed severe locomotor defects associated with the aggregation of TDP-43 in neurons. In comparison to parallel Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase worm models, transgenic full-length TDP-43, including the WT protein, was highly neurotoxic. In addition, TDP-43 demonstrated an unusually high tendency to aggregate, a property intrinsic to the WT protein. The C-terminal 25 kDa fragment of TDP-43 was unstable but remarkably aggregation-prone. Distinct disulfide-linked TDP-43 dimers and oligomers were detected. In C. elegans, the neurotoxicity and the protein aggregation of TDP-43 were regulated by environmental temperature and heat shock transcriptional factor 1, indicating that a deficiency in protein quality control is a risk factor for TDP-43 proteinopathy. Furthermore, the neurotoxicity and the protein aggregation of TDP-43 can be significantly attenuated by a deficiency in the insulin/insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) signaling in C. elegans and mammalian cells. These results suggest that protein misfolding underlies the aging-dependent neurodegeneration associated with TDP-43 and that the insulin/IGF-1 signaling may be a target for therapies.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddr076
PMCID: PMC3080607  PMID: 21355045
12.  Drosophila TDP-43 dysfunction in glia and muscle cells cause cytological and behavioural phenotypes that characterize ALS and FTLD 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;22(19):3883-3893.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) are neurodegenerative disorders that are characterized by cytoplasmic aggregates and nuclear clearance of TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43). Studies in Drosophila, zebrafish and mouse demonstrate that the neuronal dysfunction of TDP-43 is causally related to disease formation. However, TDP-43 aggregates are also observed in glia and muscle cells, which are equally affected in ALS and FTLD; yet, it is unclear whether glia- or muscle-specific dysfunction of TDP-43 contributes to pathogenesis. Here, we show that similar to its human homologue, Drosophila TDP-43, Tar DNA-binding protein homologue (TBPH), is expressed in glia and muscle cells. Muscle-specific knockdown of TBPH causes age-related motor abnormalities, whereas muscle-specific gain of function leads to sarcoplasmic aggregates and nuclear TBPH depletion, which is accompanied by behavioural deficits and premature lethality. TBPH dysfunction in glia cells causes age-related motor deficits and premature lethality. In addition, both loss and gain of Drosophila TDP-43 alter mRNA expression levels of the glutamate transporters Excitatory amino acid transporter 1 (EAAT1) and EAAT2. Taken together, our results demonstrate that both loss and gain of TDP-43 function in muscle and glial cells can lead to cytological and behavioural phenotypes in Drosophila that also characterize ALS and FTLD and identify the glutamate transporters EAAT1/2 as potential direct targets of TDP-43 function. These findings suggest that together with neuronal pathology, glial- and muscle-specific TDP-43 dysfunction may directly contribute to the aetiology and progression of TDP-43-related ALS and FTLD.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddt243
PMCID: PMC3766182  PMID: 23727833
13.  Tar DNA Binding Protein-43 (TDP-43) Associates with Stress Granules: Analysis of Cultured Cells and Pathological Brain Tissue 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(10):e13250.
Tar DNA Binding Protein-43 (TDP-43) is a principle component of inclusions in many cases of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD-U) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). TDP-43 resides predominantly in the nucleus, but in affected areas of ALS and FTLD-U central nervous system, TDP-43 is aberrantly processed and forms cytoplasmic inclusions. The mechanisms governing TDP-43 inclusion formation are poorly understood. Increasing evidence indicates that TDP-43 regulates mRNA metabolism by interacting with mRNA binding proteins that are known to associate with RNA granules. Here we show that TDP-43 can be induced to form inclusions in cell culture and that most TDP-43 inclusions co-localize with SGs. SGs are cytoplasmic RNA granules that consist of mixed protein - RNA complexes. Under stressful conditions SGs are generated by the reversible aggregation of prion-like proteins, such as TIA-1, to regulate mRNA metabolism and protein translation. We also show that disease-linked mutations in TDP-43 increased TDP-43 inclusion formation in response to stressful stimuli. Biochemical studies demonstrated that the increased TDP-43 inclusion formation is associated with accumulation of TDP-43 detergent insoluble complexes. TDP-43 associates with SG by interacting with SG proteins, such as TIA-1, via direct protein-protein interactions, as well as RNA-dependent interactions. The signaling pathway that regulates SGs formation also modulates TDP-43 inclusion formation. We observed that inclusion formation mediated by WT or mutant TDP-43 can be suppressed by treatment with translational inhibitors that suppress or reverse SG formation. Finally, using Sudan black to quench endogenous autofluorescence, we also demonstrate that TDP-43 positive-inclusions in pathological CNS tissue co-localize with multiple protein markers of stress granules, including TIA-1 and eIF3. These data provide support for accumulating evidence that TDP-43 participates in the SG pathway.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013250
PMCID: PMC2952586  PMID: 20948999
14.  The dual functions of the extreme N-terminus of TDP-43 in regulating its biological activity and inclusion formation 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;22(15):3112-3122.
TAR DNA-binding protein-43 (TDP-43) is the principal component of ubiquitinated inclusions in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and the most common pathological subtype of frontotemporal dementia—frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43-positive inclusions (FTLD-TDP). To date, the C-terminus of TDP-43, which is aggregation-prone and contains almost all ALS-associated mutations, has garnered much attention while the functions of the N-terminus of TDP-43 remain largely unknown. To bridge this gap in our knowledge, we utilized novel cell culture and computer-assisted models to evaluate which region(s) of TDP-43 regulate its folding, self-interaction, biological activity and aggregation. We determined that the extreme N-terminus of TDP-43, specifically the first 10 residues, regulates folding of TDP-43 monomers necessary for proper homodimerization and TDP-43-regulated splicing. Despite such beneficial functions, we discovered an interesting dichotomy: full-length TDP-43 aggregation, which is believed to be a pathogenic process, also requires the extreme N-terminus of TDP-43. As such, we provide new insight into the structural basis for TDP-43 function and aggregation, and we suggest that stabilization of TDP-43 homodimers, the physiologically active form of TDP-43, may be a promising therapeutic strategy for ALS and FTLD-TDP.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddt166
PMCID: PMC3699067  PMID: 23575225
15.  Kinase Inhibitor Screening Identifies Cyclin-Dependent Kinases and Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 as Potential Modulators of TDP-43 Cytosolic Accumulation during Cell Stress 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e67433.
Abnormal processing of TAR DNA binding protein 43 (TDP-43) has been identified as a major factor in neuronal degeneration during amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). It is unclear how changes to TDP-43, including nuclear to cytosolic translocation and subsequent accumulation, are controlled in these diseases. TDP-43 is a member of the heterogeneous ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) RNA binding protein family and is known to associate with cytosolic RNA stress granule proteins in ALS and FTLD. hnRNP trafficking and accumulation is controlled by the action of specific kinases including members of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. However, little is known about how kinase pathways control TDP-43 movement and accumulation. In this study, we used an in vitro model of TDP-43-positve stress granule formation to screen for the effect of kinase inhibitors on TDP-43 accumulation. We found that while a number of kinase inhibitors, particularly of the MAPK pathways modulated both TDP-43 and the global stress granule marker, human antigen R (HuR), multiple inhibitors were more specific to TDP-43 accumulation, including inhibitors of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) and glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3). Close correlation was observed between effects of these inhibitors on TDP-43, hnRNP K and TIAR, but often with different effects on HuR accumulation. This may indicate a potential interaction between TDP-43, hnRNP K and TIAR. CDK inhibitors were also found to reverse pre-formed TDP-43-positive stress granules and both CDK and GSK3 inhibitors abrogated the accumulation of C-terminal TDP-43 (219–414) in transfected cells. Further studies are required to confirm the specific kinases involved and whether their action is through phosphorylation of the TDP-43 binding partner hnRNP K. This knowledge provides a valuable insight into the mechanisms controlling abnormal cytoplasmic TDP-43 accumulation and may herald new opportunities for kinase modulation-based therapeutic intervention in ALS and FTLD.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067433
PMCID: PMC3694067  PMID: 23840699
16.  ALS-Associated TDP-43 Induces Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress, Which Drives Cytoplasmic TDP-43 Accumulation and Stress Granule Formation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e81170.
In amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration, TAR DNA binding protein 43 (TDP-43) accumulates in the cytoplasm of affected neurons and glia, where it associates with stress granules (SGs) and forms large inclusions. SGs form in response to cellular stress, including endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, which is induced in both familial and sporadic forms of ALS. Here we demonstrate that pharmacological induction of ER stress causes TDP-43 to accumulate in the cytoplasm, where TDP-43 also associates with SGs. Furthermore, treatment with salubrinal, an inhibitor of dephosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor 2-α, a key modulator of ER stress, potentiates ER stress-mediated SG formation. Inclusions of C-terminal fragment TDP-43, reminiscent of disease-pathology, form in close association with ER and Golgi compartments, further indicating the involvement of ER dysfunction in TDP-43-associated disease. Consistent with this notion, over-expression of ALS-linked mutant TDP-43, and to a lesser extent wildtype TDP-43, triggers several ER stress pathways in neuroblastoma cells. Similarly, we found an interaction between the ER chaperone protein disulphide isomerase and TDP-43 in transfected cell lysates and in the spinal cords of mutant A315T TDP-43 transgenic mice. This study provides evidence for ER stress as a pathogenic pathway in TDP-43-mediated disease.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0081170
PMCID: PMC3843686  PMID: 24312274
17.  Overexpression of ALS-Associated p.M337V Human TDP-43 in Mice Worsens Disease Features Compared to Wild-type Human TDP-43 Mice 
Molecular Neurobiology  2013;48(1):22-35.
Mutations in TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) are associated with familial forms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), while wild-type TDP-43 is a pathological hallmark of patients with sporadic ALS and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). Various in vitro and in vivo studies have also demonstrated toxicity of both mutant and wild-type TDP-43 to neuronal cells. To study the potential additional toxicity incurred by mutant TDP-43 in vivo, we generated mutant human TDP-43 (p.M337V) transgenic mouse lines driven by the Thy-1.2 promoter (Mt-TAR) and compared them in the same experimental setting to the disease phenotype observed in wild-type TDP-43 transgenic lines (Wt-TAR) expressing comparable TDP-43 levels. Overexpression of mutant TDP-43 leads to a worsened dose-dependent disease phenotype in terms of motor dysfunction, neurodegeneration, gliosis, and development of ubiquitin and phosphorylated TDP-43 pathology. Furthermore, we show that cellular aggregate formation or accumulation of TDP-43 C-terminal fragments (CTFs) are not primarily responsible for development of the observed disease phenotype in both mutant and wild-type TDP-43 mice.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s12035-013-8427-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s12035-013-8427-5
PMCID: PMC3718993  PMID: 23475610
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; TARDBP; Transgenic mice; Ubiquitin
18.  The Tau Tubulin Kinases TTBK1/2 Promote Accumulation of Pathological TDP-43 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(12):e1004803.
Pathological aggregates of phosphorylated TDP-43 characterize amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD-TDP), two devastating groups of neurodegenerative disease. Kinase hyperactivity may be a consistent feature of ALS and FTLD-TDP, as phosphorylated TDP-43 is not observed in the absence of neurodegeneration. By examining changes in TDP-43 phosphorylation state, we have identified kinases controlling TDP-43 phosphorylation in a C. elegans model of ALS. In this kinome-wide survey, we identified homologs of the tau tubulin kinases 1 and 2 (TTBK1 and TTBK2), which were also identified in a prior screen for kinase modifiers of TDP-43 behavioral phenotypes. Using refined methodology, we demonstrate TTBK1 and TTBK2 directly phosphorylate TDP-43 in vitro and promote TDP-43 phosphorylation in mammalian cultured cells. TTBK1/2 overexpression drives phosphorylation and relocalization of TDP-43 from the nucleus to cytoplasmic inclusions reminiscent of neuropathologic changes in disease states. Furthermore, protein levels of TTBK1 and TTBK2 are increased in frontal cortex of FTLD-TDP patients, and TTBK1 and TTBK2 co-localize with TDP-43 inclusions in ALS spinal cord. These kinases may represent attractive targets for therapeutic intervention for TDP-43 proteinopathies such as ALS and FTLD-TDP.
Author Summary
Aggregated proteins are a hallmark of many neurodegenerative diseases. In ALS and FTLD-TDP, these aggregates contain abnormal TDP-43 modified by phosphorylation. Protein phosphorylation normally controls protein activity, stability, or location, but in some neurodegenerative diseases the phosphorylated proteins accumulate in excess. Kinases are the enzymes responsible for protein phosphorylation. We have identified two TDP-43 kinases, TTBK1 and TTBK2, using a novel approach combining reverse genetics and biochemical screening to identify the kinases responsible for changes in TDP-43 phosphorylation. We show TTBK1 and TTBK2 directly phosphorylate TDP-43 in vitro, and control TDP-43 phosphorylation in cellular and simple animal models of ALS. This has uncovered a molecular mechanism by which pathological phosphorylated TDP-43 can occur in disease. To determine whether changes in TTBK1/2 protein are contributing to TDP-43 pathology, we examined diseased brain and spinal cord tissue from patients with ALS or FTLD-TDP. We observed changes in the abundance of TTBK1 and TTBK2 in disease-affected neurons, and the coexistence of TTBK1/2 with phosphorylated TDP-43 aggregates in both FTLD-TDP and ALS. Therefore, increased abundance or activity of TTBK1 or TTBK2 may contribute to the neurodegeneration observed in ALS and FTLD-TDP.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004803
PMCID: PMC4256087  PMID: 25473830
19.  Robust cytoplasmic accumulation of phosphorylated TDP-43 in transgenic models of tauopathy 
Acta Neuropathologica  2013;126(1):39-50.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) has been subdivided based on the main pathology found in the brains of affected individuals. When the primary pathology is aggregated, hyperphosphorylated tau, the pathological diagnosis is FTLD-tau. When the primary pathology is cytoplasmic and/or nuclear aggregates of phosphorylated TAR-DNA-binding protein (TDP-43), the pathological diagnosis is FTLD-TDP. Notably, TDP-43 pathology can also occur in conjunction with a number of neurodegenerative disorders; however, unknown environmental and genetic factors may regulate this TDP-43 pathology. Using transgenic mouse models of several diseases of the central nervous system, we explored whether a primary proteinopathy might secondarily drive TDP-43 proteinopathy. We found abnormal, cytoplasmic accumulation of phosphorylated TDP-43 specifically in two tau transgenic models, but TDP-43 pathology was absent in mouse models of Aβ deposition, α-synucleinopathy or Huntington’s disease. Though tau pathology showed considerable overlap with cytoplasmic, phosphorylated TDP-43, tau pathology generally preceded TDP-43 pathology. Biochemical analysis confirmed the presence of TDP-43 abnormalities in the tau mice, which showed increased levels of high molecular weight, soluble TDP-43 and insoluble full-length and ~35 kD TDP-43. These data demonstrate that the neurodegenerative cascade associated with a primary tauopathy in tau transgenic mice can also promote TDP-43 abnormalities. These findings provide the first in vivo models to understand how TDP-43 pathology may arise as a secondary consequence of a primary proteinopathy.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00401-013-1123-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s00401-013-1123-8
PMCID: PMC3690181  PMID: 23666556
Tau; TDP-43; Mouse; Transgenic; Neuropathology, tauopathy; TDP-43 proteinopathies
20.  Inhibition of TDP-43 Aggregation by Nucleic Acid Binding 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e64002.
The aggregation of TAR DNA-binding protein (TDP-43) has been shown as a hallmark of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) since 2006. While evidence has suggested that mutation or truncation in TDP-43 influences its aggregation process, nevertheless, the correlation between the TDP-43 aggregation propensity and its binding substrates has not been fully established in TDP-43 proteinopathy. To address this question, we have established a platform based on the in vitro protein expression system to evaluate the solubility change of TDP-43 in response to factors such as nucleotide binding and temperature. Our results suggest that the solubility of TDP-43 is largely influenced by its cognate single-strand DNA (ssDNA) or RNA (ssRNA) rather than hnRNP, which is known to associate with TDP-43 C-terminus. The direct interaction between the refolded TDP-43, purified from E.coli, and ssDNA were further characterized by Circular Dichroism (CD) as well as turbidity and filter binding assay. In addition, ssDNA or ssRNA failed to prevent the aggregation of the F147L/F149L double mutant or truncated TDP-43 (TDP208–414). Consistently, these two mutants form aggregates, in contrast with the wild-type TDP-43, when expressed in Neuro2a cells. Our results demonstrate an intimate relationship between the solubility of TDP-43 and its DNA or RNA binding affinity, which may shed light on the role of TDP-43 in ALS and FTLD.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064002
PMCID: PMC3667863  PMID: 23737961
21.  Concomitant TAR-DNA-Binding Protein 43 Pathology Is Present in Alzheimer Disease and Corticobasal Degeneration but Not in Other Tauopathies 
Pathologic TAR-DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) is a disease protein in frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin-positive inclusions (FTLD-U) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. We studied the presence, frequency, and distribution of TDP-43 pathology by immunohistochemistry and biochemistry in a series of clinically well-characterized tauopathy patient brains, including 182 Alzheimer disease (AD), 39 corticobasal degeneration, 77 progressive supranuclear palsy, and 12 Pick disease cases and investigated the clinical impact of concomitant TDP-43 pathology in these cases. TAR-DNA-binding protein 43 pathology was found in 25.8% of AD cases. It was restricted to the dentate gyrus and entorhinal cortex in approximately 75% of cases; approximately 25% showed more widespread TDP-43 pathology in frontal and temporal cortices, resembling the FTLD-U subtype associated with progranulin mutations. TAR-DNA-binding protein 43 pathology in AD was associated with significantly longer disease duration, but there was no association with the clinical presentation (148 cases diagnosed as AD and 34 cases diagnosed as frontotemporal lobar degeneration). Progressive supranuclear palsy and Pick disease cases showed no TDP-43 inclusions and no biochemical alterations of TDP-43. There was, however, a unique, predominantly glial TDP-43 pathology with staining of astrocytic plaque-like structures and coiled bodies in 15.4% of corticobasal degeneration cases; this was associated with biochemical TDP-43 changes similar to those in FTLD-U. These findings provide further insight into the burden and clinical significance of TDP-43 pathology in disorders other than FTLD-U and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
doi:10.1097/NEN.0b013e31817713b5
PMCID: PMC3659339  PMID: 18520774
Alzheimer disease; Corticobasal degeneration; Frontotemporal dementia; Tauopathy; TDP-43
22.  Reducing TDP-43 aggregation does not prevent its cytotoxicity 
Background
TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) is a protein that is involved in the pathology of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD). In patients with these neurodegenerative diseases, TDP-43 does not remain in its normal nuclear location, but instead forms insoluble aggregates in both the nucleus and cytoplasm of affected neurons.
Results
We used high density peptide array analysis to identify regions in TDP-43 that are bound by TDP-43 itself and designed candidate peptides that might be able to reduce TDP-43 aggregation. We found that two of the synthetic peptides identified with this approach could effectively inhibit the formation of TDP-43 protein aggregates in a concentration-dependent manner in HeLa cells in which a mutated human TDP-43 gene was overexpressed. However, despite reducing aggregation, these peptides did not reduce or prevent cell death. Similar results were observed in HeLa cells treated with arsenite. Again we found reduced aggregation, in this case of wild type TDP-43, but no difference in cell death.
Conclusions
Our results suggest that TDP-43 aggregation is associated with the cell death process rather than being a direct cause.
doi:10.1186/2051-5960-1-49
PMCID: PMC3893365  PMID: 24252504
TDP-43; Aggregation; Peptides; Cell death
23.  Neuronal sensitivity to TDP-43 overexpression is dependent on timing of induction 
Acta Neuropathologica  2012;123(6):807-823.
Ubiquitin-immunoreactive neuronal inclusions composed of TAR DNA binding protein of 43 kDa (TDP-43) are a major pathological feature of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD-TDP). In vivo studies with TDP-43 knockout mice have suggested that TDP-43 plays a critical, although undefined role in development. In the current report, we generated transgenic mice that conditionally express wild-type human TDP-43 (hTDP-43) in the forebrain and established a paradigm to examine the sensitivity of neurons to TDP-43 overexpression at different developmental stages. Continuous TDP-43 expression during early neuronal development produced a complex phenotype, including aggregation of phospho-TDP-43, increased ubiquitin immunoreactivity, mitochondrial abnormalities, neurodegeneration and early lethality. In contrast, later induction of hTDP-43 in the forebrain of weaned mice prevented early death and mitochondrial abnormalities while yielding salient features of FTLD-TDP, including progressive neurodegeneration and ubiquitinated, phospho-TDP-43 neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions. These results suggest that neurons in the developing forebrain are extremely sensitive to TDP-43 overexpression and that timing of TDP-43 overexpression in transgenic mice must be considered when distinguishing normal roles of TDP-43, particularly as they relate to development, from its pathogenic role in FTLD-TDP and other TDP-43 proteinopathies. Finally, our adult induction of hTDP-43 strategy provides a mouse model that develops critical pathological features that are directly relevant for human TDP-43 proteinopathies.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00401-012-0979-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s00401-012-0979-3
PMCID: PMC3359456  PMID: 22539017
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Apoptosis; Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; Neurodevelopment; TDP-43; Transgenic mice
24.  TDP-43 mediates degeneration in a novel Drosophila model of disease caused by mutations in VCP/p97 
Inclusion body myopathy associated with Paget’s disease of bone and frontotemporal dementia (IBMPFD) is a dominantly inherited degenerative disorder caused by mutations in the valosin-containing protein (VCP) gene. VCP (p97 in mouse, TER94 in D. melanogaster, and CDC48 in S. cerevisiae) is a highly conserved AAA+-ATPase that regulates a wide array of cellular processes. The mechanism of IBMPFD pathogenesis is unknown. To elucidate the pathogenic mechanism, we developed and characterized a Drosophila model of IBMPFD (mutant VCP–related degeneration). Based on genetic screening of this model we identified three RNA-binding proteins that dominantly suppressed degeneration; one of these was TBPH, the Drosophila homolog of TAR DNA-binding protein (TDP-43). Here we demonstrate that VCP and TDP-43 interact genetically and that disease-causing mutations in VCP lead to redistribution of TDP-43 to the cytoplasm in vitro and in vivo, replicating the major pathology observed in IBMPFD and other TDP-43 proteinopathies. We also demonstrate that TDP-43 redistribution from the nucleus to the cytoplasm is sufficient to induce cytotoxicity. Furthermore, we determined that a pathogenic mutation in TDP-43 promotes redistribution to the cytoplasm and enhances the genetic interaction with VCP. Taken together, our results show that degeneration associated with VCP mutations is mediated in part by toxic gain-of-function of TDP-43 in the cytoplasm. We suggest that these findings are likely relevant to the pathogenic mechanism of a broad array of TDP-43 proteinopathies, including frontotemporal lobar degeneration and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5894-09.2010
PMCID: PMC2890254  PMID: 20519548
VCP; IBMPFD; TDP-43; neurodegeneration; myopathy; Drosophila
25.  Divergent Phenotypes in Mutant TDP-43 Transgenic Mice Highlight Potential Confounds in TDP-43 Transgenic Modeling 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86513.
The majority of cases of frontotemporal lobar degeneration and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis are pathologically defined by the cleavage, cytoplasmic redistribution and aggregation of TAR DNA binding protein of 43 kDa (TDP-43). To examine the contribution of these potentially toxic mechanisms in vivo, we generated transgenic mice expressing human TDP-43 containing the familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-linked M337V mutation and identified two lines that developed neurological phenotypes of differing severity and progression. The first developed a rapid cortical neurodegenerative phenotype in the early postnatal period, characterized by fragmentation of TDP-43 and loss of endogenous murine Tdp-43, but entirely lacking aggregates of ubiquitin or TDP-43. A second, low expressing line was aged to 25 months without a severe neurodegenerative phenotype, despite a 30% loss of mouse Tdp-43 and accumulation of lower molecular weight TDP-43 species. Furthermore, TDP-43 fragments generated during neurodegeneration were not C-terminal, but rather were derived from a central portion of human TDP-43. Thus we find that aggregation is not required for cell loss, loss of murine Tdp-43 is not necessarily sufficient in order to develop a severe neurodegenerative phenotype and lower molecular weight TDP-43 positive species in mouse models should not be inherently assumed to be representative of human disease. Our findings are significant for the interpretation of other transgenic studies of TDP-43 proteinopathy.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086513
PMCID: PMC3899264  PMID: 24466128

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