Neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease (NIFID), a rare form of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), is characterized neuropathologically by focal atrophy of the frontal and temporal lobes, neuronal loss, gliosis, and neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCI) containing epitopes of ubiquitin and neuronal intermediate filament proteins. Recently, the ‘fused in sarcoma’ (FUS) protein (encoded by the FUS gene) has been shown to be a component of the inclusions of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with FUS mutation, NIFID, basophilic inclusion body disease, and atypical FTLD with ubiquitin-immunoreactive inclusions (aFTLD-U). To further characterize FUS proteinopathy in NIFID, and to determine whether the pathology revealed by FUS immunohistochemistry (IHC) is more extensive than α-internexin, we have undertaken a quantitative assessment of ten clinically and neuropathologically well-characterized cases using FUS IHC. The densities of NCI were greatest in the dentate gyrus (DG) and in sectors CA1/2 of the hippocampus. Anti-FUS antibodies also labeled glial inclusions (GI), neuronal intranuclear inclusions (NII), and dystrophic neurites (DN). Vacuolation was extensive across upper and lower cortical layers. Significantly greater densities of abnormally enlarged neurons and glial cell nuclei were present in the lower compared with the upper cortical laminae. FUS IHC revealed significantly greater numbers of NCI in all brain regions especially the DG. Our data suggest: (1) significant densities of FUS-immunoreactive NCI in NIFID especially in the DG and CA1/2; (2) infrequent FUS-immunoreactive GI, NII, and DN; (3) widely distributed vacuolation across the cortex, and (4) significantly more NCI revealed by FUS than α-internexin IHC.
Neurofilament intermediate filament inclusion disease (NIFID); ‘Fused in sarcoma’ (FUS); Neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCI); Density; Neuronal intranuclear inclusions (NII)
Mutations in the gene encoding the RNA-binding protein fused in sarcoma (FUS) can cause familial and sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and rarely frontotemproal dementia (FTD). FUS accumulates in neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCIs) in ALS patients with FUS mutations. FUS is also a major pathologic marker for a group of less common forms of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), which includes atypical FTLD with ubiquitinated inclusions (aFTLD-U), neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease (NIFID) and basophilic inclusion body disease (BIBD). These diseases are now called FUS proteinopathies, because they share this disease marker. It is unknown how FUS mutations cause disease and the role of FUS in FTD-FUS cases, which do not have FUS mutations. In this paper we report the development of somatic brain transgenic (SBT) mice using recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) to investigate how FUS mutations lead to neurodegeneration.
We compared SBT mice expressing wild-type human FUS (FUSWT), and two ALS-linked mutations: FUSR521C and FUSΔ14, which lacks the nuclear localization signal. Both FUS mutants accumulated in the cytoplasm relative to FUSWT. The degree of this shift correlated with the severity of the FUS mutation as reflected by disease onset in humans. Mice expressing the most aggressive mutation, FUSΔ14, recapitulated many aspects of FUS proteinopathies, including insoluble FUS, basophilic and eosiniphilic NCIs, and other pathologic markers, including ubiquitin, p62/SQSTM1, α-internexin, and the poly-adenylate(A)-binding protein 1 (PABP-1). However, TDP-43 did not localize to inclusions.
Our data supports the hypothesis that ALS or FTD-linked FUS mutations cause neurodegeneration by increasing cyotplasmic FUS. Accumulation of FUS in the cytoplasm may retain RNA targets and recruit additional RNA-binding proteins, such as PABP-1, into stress-granule like aggregates that coalesce into permanent inclusions that could negatively affect RNA metabolism. Identification of mutations in other genes that cause ALS/FTD, such as C9ORF72, sentaxin, and angiogenin, lends support to the idea that defective RNA metabolism is a critical pathogenic pathway. The SBT FUS mice described here will provide a valuable platform for dissecting the pathogenic mechanism of FUS mutations, define the relationship between FTD and ALS-FUS, and help identify therapeutic targets that are desperately needed for these devastating neurodegenerative disorders.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; Fused in sarcoma proteinopathies; Transgenic mouse models; Adeno-associated virus; Neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions; Ubiquitin; p62/SQSTM1; α-internexin; PABP-1; Stress granules; RNA dysfunction
Neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease (NIFID) is an uncommon neurodegenerative condition that typically presents as early-onset, sporadic frontotemporal dementia (FTD), associated with a pyramidal and/or extrapyramidal movement disorder. The neuropathology is characterized by frontotemporal lobar degeneration with neuronal inclusions that are immunoreactive for all class IV intermediate filaments (IF), light, medium and heavy neurofilament subunits and α-internexin. However, not all the inclusions in NIFID are IF-positive and the primary molecular defect remains uncertain. Mutations in the gene encoding the fused in sarcoma (FUS) protein have recently been identified as a cause of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Because of the recognized clinical, genetic and pathological overlap between FTD and ALS, we investigated the possible role of FUS in NIFID. We found abnormal intracellular accumulation of FUS to be a consistent feature of our NIFID cases (n = 5). More neuronal inclusions were labeled using FUS immunohistochemistry than for IF. Several types of inclusions were consistently FUS-positive but IF-negative, including neuronal intranuclear inclusions and glial cytoplasmic inclusions. Double-label immunofluorescence confirmed that many cells had only FUS-positive inclusions and that all cells with IF-positive inclusions also contained pathological FUS. No mutations in the FUS gene were identified in a single case with DNA available. These findings suggest that FUS may play an important role in the pathogenesis of NIFID.
frontotemporal dementia; frontotemporal lobar degeneration; neuronal intermediate filament disease; fused in liposarcoma; translocated in sarcoma
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a clinical syndrome with a heterogeneous molecular basis. The neuropathology associated with most FTD is characterized by abnormal cellular aggregates of either transactive response DNA-binding protein with Mr 43 kDa (TDP-43) or tau protein. However, we recently described a subgroup of FTD patients, representing around 10%, with an unusual clinical phenotype and pathology characterized by frontotemporal lobar degeneration with neuronal inclusions composed of an unidentified ubiquitinated protein (atypical FTLD-U; aFTLD-U). All cases were sporadic and had early-onset FTD with severe progressive behavioural and personality changes in the absence of aphasia or significant motor features. Mutations in the fused in sarcoma (FUS) gene have recently been identified as a cause of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, with these cases reported to have abnormal cellular accumulations of FUS protein. Because of the recognized clinical, genetic and pathological overlap between FTD and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, we investigated whether FUS might also be the pathological protein in aFTLD-U. In all our aFTLD-U cases (n = 15), FUS immunohistochemistry labelled all the neuronal inclusions and also demonstrated previously unrecognized glial pathology. Immunoblot analysis of protein extracted from post-mortem aFTLD-U brain tissue demonstrated increased levels of insoluble FUS. No mutations in the FUS gene were identified in any of our patients. These findings suggest that FUS is the pathological protein in a significant subgroup of sporadic FTD and reinforce the concept that FTD and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis are closely related conditions.
frontotemporal lobar degeneration; frontotemporal dementia; FUS; fused in sarcoma; TLS; translocated in liposarcoma
Multiple neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by the abnormal accumulation of FUS protein including various subtypes of frontotemporal lobar degeneration with FUS inclusions (FTLD-FUS). These subtypes include atypical frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin-positive inclusions (aFTLD-U), basophilic inclusion body disease (BIBD) and neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease (NIFID). Despite considerable overlap, certain pathologic features including differences in inclusion morphology, the subcellular localization of inclusions, and the relative paucity of subcortical FUS pathology in aFTLD-U indicate that these three entities represent related but distinct diseases. In this study, we report the clinical and pathologic features of three cases of aFTLD-U and two cases of late-onset BIBD with an emphasis on the anatomic distribution of FUS inclusions.
The aFTLD-U cases demonstrated FUS inclusions in cerebral cortex, subcortical grey matter and brainstem with a predilection for anterior forebrain and rostral brainstem. In contrast, the distribution of FUS pathology in late-onset BIBD cases demonstrated a predilection for pyramidal and extrapyramidal motor regions with relative sparing of cerebral cortex and limbic regions.
The topography of FUS pathology in these cases demonstrate the diversity of sporadic FUS inclusion body diseases and raises the possibility that late-onset motor neuron disease with BIBD neuropathology may exhibit unique clinical and pathologic features.
Frontotemporal dementia; Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; Motor neuron disease; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease (NIFID), a rare form of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), is characterized neuropathologically by focal atrophy of the frontal and temporal lobes, neuronal loss, gliosis, and neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCI) containing epitopes of ubiquitin and neuronal intermediate filament (IF) proteins. Recently, the ‘fused in sarcoma’ (FUS) protein (encoded by the FUS gene) has been shown to be a component of the inclusions of NIFID. To further characterize FUS proteinopathy in NIFID, we studied the spatial patterns of the FUS-immunoreactive NCI in frontal and temporal cortex of 10 cases. In the cerebral cortex, sectors CA1/2 of the hippocampus, and the dentate gyrus (DG), the FUS-immunoreactive NCI were frequently clustered and the clusters were regularly distributed parallel to the tissue boundary. In a proportion of cortical gyri, cluster size of the NCI approximated to those of the columns of cells was associated with the cortico-cortical projections. There were no significant differences in the frequency of different types of spatial patterns with disease duration or disease stage. Clusters of NCI in the upper and lower cortex were significantly larger using FUS compared with phosphorylated, neurofilament heavy polypeptide (NEFH) or α-internexin (INA) immunohistochemistry (IHC). We concluded: (1) FUS-immunoreactive NCI exhibit similar spatial patterns to analogous inclusions in the tauopathies and synucleinopathies, (2) clusters of FUS-immunoreactive NCI are larger than those revealed by NEFH or IMA, and (3) the spatial patterns of the FUS-immunoreactive NCI suggest the degeneration of the cortico-cortical projections in NIFID.
Neurofilament intermediate filament inclusion disease (NIFID); ‘Fused in sarcoma’ (FUS); Neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCI); Spatial pattern; Cortico-cortical projections
TAR DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa (TDP-43) is a major component of the pathological inclusions of frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 proteinopathy, also called FTLD with ubiquitin-positive, tau-negative inclusions (FTLD-U), and motor neuron disease (MND). TDP-43 is predominantly expressed in the nucleus and regulates gene expression and splicing. In FTLD with TDP-43 proteinopathy, neuronal inclusions present variably as cytoplasmic inclusions (NCIs), dystrophic neurites (DNs), and intranuclear inclusions (NIIs), leading to a fourfold neuropathological classification correlating with genotype. There have been few fine structural studies of these inclusions. Thus, we undertook an immunoelectron microscopic study of FTLD with TDP-43 proteinopathy, including sporadic and familial cases with progranulin (GRN) mutation. TDP-43-immunoreactive inclusions comprised two components: granular and filamentous. Filament widths, expressed as mean (range) were: NCI, 9 nm (4–16 nm); DN, 10 nm (5–16 nm); NII, 18 nm (9–50 nm). Morphologically distinct inclusion components may reflect the process of TDP-43 aggregation and interaction with other proteins: determining these latter may contribute towards understanding the heterogeneous pathogenesis of FTLD with TDP-43 proteinopathy.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; Ubiquitin; TDP-43; TARDBP; Progranulin; Immunoelectron microscopy
Transactivation response DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) proteinopathies are classified based upon the extent of modified TDP-43 and include a growing number of neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin-immunoreactive, tau-negative inclusions and frontotemporal lobar degeneration with motor neuron disease. Objective: The purpose of the study was to examine whether proteolytic modifications of TDP-43 are a relevant finding in Parkinson's disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).
A novel site-directed caspase cleavage antibody, termed TDP caspase cleavage product antibody (TDPccp), was utilized based upon a known caspase 3 cleavage consensus site within TDP-43 at position 219.
Application of this antibody to postmortem brain sections from PD and DLB patients revealed the presence of caspase-cleaved TDP-43 in Lewy bodies and Hirano bodies in all cases examined. Colocalization of TDPccp with an antibody to α-synuclein (α-Syn), which served as a general marker for Lewy bodies, was evident within the substantia nigra in both α-synucleinopathies. Interestingly, the TDPccp antibody detected a greater number of Lewy bodies in PD and DLB compared to the α-Syn antibody. In addition, a semiquantitative analysis in both diseases confirmed this finding by indicating that the percentage of caspase-cleaved TDP-43 single-labeled Lewy bodies was approximately twice that of α-Syn labeling (in DLB 13.4 vs. 5.5%, while in PD 34.6 vs. 17.6%).
Collectively, these data have identified caspase-cleaved TDP-43 as a primary component of Lewy and Hirano bodies in PD and DLB, and suggest that the TDPccp antibody is an effective marker for the detection of Lewy bodies in these neurodegenerative diseases.
Transactivation response DNA-binding protein 43 proteinopathies; Parkinson's disease; Dementia with Lewy bodies; α-Synucleinopathies; Hirano bodies; α-Synuclein; Caspases
Perry syndrome is characterized clinically by autosomal dominantly inherited, rapidly progressive parkinsonism, depression, weight loss and hypoventilation. In the seven families reported previously and the two new families presented herein (the Hawaii family and the Fukuoka-4 Japanese family), the mean disease onset age is 48 years (range: 35-61) and the mean disease duration five years (range: 2-10). Histology and immunohistochemistry show severe neuronal loss in the substantia nigra and locus coeruleus, with TDP-43-positive pathology in neurons (intranuclear and cytoplasmic inclusions, dystrophic neurites, axonal spheroids) and glial cells (glial cytoplasmic inclusions). Compared with other TDP-43-proteinopathies (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and ubiquitin-positive frontotemporal lobar degeneration), the distribution is unique in Perry syndrome with pallidonigral distribution and sparing of the cortex, hippocampus and motor neurons. The genetic cause of Perry syndrome was recently identified with five mutations in the dynactin gene (DCTN1) segregating with disease in eight families. DCTN1 encodes p150glued, the major subunit of the dynactin protein complex, which plays a crucial role in retrograde axonal and cytoplasmic transport of various cargoes. Evidence suggests the Perry mutations alter the binding of p150glued to microtubules. Further studies will examine reasons for the vulnerability of selected neuronal populations in Perry syndrome, and the link between the genetic defect and TDP-43 pathology.
Perry syndrome; parkinsonism; depression; hypoventilation; dynactin; DCTN1; p150glued; TDP-43
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) are relentlessly progressive neurodegenerative disorders with overlapping clinical, genetic and pathological features. Cytoplasmic inclusions of fused in sarcoma (FUS) are the hallmark of several forms of FTLD and ALS patients with mutations in the FUS gene. FUS is a multifunctional, predominantly nuclear, DNA and RNA binding protein. Here, we report that transgenic mice overexpressing wild-type human FUS develop an aggressive phenotype with an early onset tremor followed by progressive hind limb paralysis and death by 12 weeks in homozygous animals. Large motor neurons were lost from the spinal cord accompanied by neurophysiological evidence of denervation and focal muscle atrophy. Surviving motor neurons in the spinal cord had greatly increased cytoplasmic expression of FUS, with globular and skein-like FUS-positive and ubiquitin-negative inclusions associated with astroglial and microglial reactivity. Cytoplasmic FUS inclusions were also detected in the brain of transgenic mice without apparent neuronal loss and little astroglial or microglial activation. Hemizygous FUS overexpressing mice showed no evidence of a motor phenotype or pathology. These findings recapitulate several pathological features seen in human ALS and FTLD patients, and suggest that overexpression of wild-type FUS in vulnerable neurons may be one of the root causes of disease. Furthermore, these mice will provide a new model to study disease mechanism, and test therapies.
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Accumulation of the DNA/RNA binding protein fused in sarcoma as cytoplasmic inclusions in neurons and glial cells is the pathological hallmark of all patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with mutations in FUS as well as in several subtypes of frontotemporal lobar degeneration, which are not associated with FUS mutations. The mechanisms leading to inclusion formation and fused in sarcoma-associated neurodegeneration are only poorly understood. Because fused in sarcoma belongs to a family of proteins known as FET, which also includes Ewing’s sarcoma and TATA-binding protein-associated factor 15, we investigated the potential involvement of these other FET protein family members in the pathogenesis of fused in sarcoma proteinopathies. Immunohistochemical analysis of FET proteins revealed a striking difference among the various conditions, with pathology in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with FUS mutations being labelled exclusively for fused in sarcoma, whereas fused in sarcoma-positive inclusions in subtypes of frontotemporal lobar degeneration also consistently immunostained for TATA-binding protein-associated factor 15 and variably for Ewing’s sarcoma. Immunoblot analysis of proteins extracted from post-mortem tissue of frontotemporal lobar degeneration with fused in sarcoma pathology demonstrated a relative shift of all FET proteins towards insoluble protein fractions, while genetic analysis of the TATA-binding protein-associated factor 15 and Ewing’s sarcoma gene did not identify any pathogenic variants. Cell culture experiments replicated the findings of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with FUS mutations by confirming the absence of TATA-binding protein-associated factor 15 and Ewing’s sarcoma alterations upon expression of mutant fused in sarcoma. In contrast, all endogenous FET proteins were recruited into cytoplasmic stress granules upon general inhibition of Transportin-mediated nuclear import, mimicking the findings in frontotemporal lobar degeneration with fused in sarcoma pathology. These results allow a separation of fused in sarcoma proteinopathies caused by FUS mutations from those without a known genetic cause based on neuropathological features. More importantly, our data imply different pathological processes underlying inclusion formation and cell death between both conditions; the pathogenesis in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with FUS mutations appears to be more restricted to dysfunction of fused in sarcoma, while a more global and complex dysregulation of all FET proteins is involved in the subtypes of frontotemporal lobar degeneration with fused in sarcoma pathology.
FUS; TAF15; EWS; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; frontotemporal dementia
It is now established that pathological transactive response DNA-binding protein with a Mr of 43 kD (TDP-43) on sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis is the major disease protein in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) with ubiquitin-positive inclusions (now known as FTLD-TDP). In fact, the discovery of pathological TDP-43 solidified the idea that these disorders are multi-system diseases and this led to the concept of a TDP-43 proteinopathy as a spectrum of disorders comprised of different clinical and pathological entities extending from ALS to ALS with cognitive impairment/dementia and FTLD-TDP without or with motor neuron disease (FTLD-MND). These align along a broad disease continuum sharing similar pathogenetic mechanisms linked to pathological TDP-43. We here review salient findings in the development of a concept of TDP-43 proteinopathy as a novel group of neurodegenerative diseases similar in concept to α-synucleinopathies and tauopathies.
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; frontotemporal lobar degeneration; multi-system disease; proteinopathy; transactive response DNA-binding protein with a Mr of 43 kD (TDP-43)
We aimed to investigate the role of the nuclear carrier and binding proteins, transportin-1 (TRN1) and transportin-2 (TRN2), TATA-binding protein-associated factor 15 (TAF15) and Ewing’s Sarcoma protein (EWS) in inclusion body formation in cases of Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD) associated with Fused in Sarcoma protein (FTLD-FUS).
Eight cases of FTLD-FUS (5 cases of atypical FTLD-U (aFTLD-U), 2 of Neuronal Intermediate Filament Inclusion Body Disease (NIFID) and 1 of Basophilic Inclusion Body Disease (BIBD)) were immunostained for FUS, TRN1, TRN2, TAF15 and EWS. 10 cases of FTLD associated with TDP-43 inclusions served as reference cases.
The inclusion bodies in FTLD-FUS contained TRN1 and TAF15 and, to a lesser extent, EWS, but not TRN2. The patterns of immunostaining for TRN1 and TAF15 were very similar to that of FUS. None of these proteins was associated with tau or TDP-43 aggregations in FTLD.
Data suggest that FUS, TRN1 and TAF15 may participate in a functional pathway in an interdependent way, and imply that the function of TDP-43 may not necessarily be in parallel with, or complementary to, that of FUS, despite each protein sharing many similar structural elements.
Frontotemporal Lobar degeneration; Fused in Sarcoma; TDP-43; transportins; TATA-binding protein-associated factor 15; Ewing’s sarcoma protein
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is a heterogeneous group of disorders characterized by disturbances of behavior and personality and different types of language impairment with or without concomitant features of motor neuron disease or parkinsonism. FTLD is characterized by atrophy of the frontal and anterior temporal brain lobes. Detailed neuropathological studies have elicited proteinopathies defined by inclusions of hyperphosphorylated microtubule-associated protein tau, TAR DNA-binding protein TDP-43, fused-in-sarcoma or yet unidentified proteins in affected brain regions. Rather than the type of proteinopathy, the site of neurodegeneration correlates relatively well with the clinical presentation of FTLD. Molecular genetic studies identified five disease genes, of which the gene encoding the tau protein (MAPT), the growth factor precursor gene granulin (GRN), and C9orf72 with unknown function are most frequently mutated. Rare mutations were also identified in the genes encoding valosin-containing protein (VCP) and charged multivesicular body protein 2B (CHMP2B). These genes are good markers to distinguish underlying neuropathological phenotypes. Due to the complex landscape of FTLD diseases, combined characterization of clinical, imaging, biological and genetic biomarkers is essential to establish a detailed diagnosis. Although major progress has been made in FTLD research in recent years, further studies are needed to completely map out and correlate the clinical, pathological and genetic entities, and to understand the underlying disease mechanisms. In this review, we summarize the current state of the rapidly progressing field of genetic, neuropathological and clinical research of this intriguing condition.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; Proteinopathy; MAPT; GRN; C9orf72; VCP; CHMP2B; Tau; TDP-43; FUS
Relating clinical symptoms to neuroanatomical profiles of brain damage and ultimately to tissue pathology is a key challenge in the field of neurodegenerative disease and particularly relevant to the heterogeneous disorders that comprise the frontotemporal lobar degeneration spectrum. Here we present a retrospective analysis of clinical, neuropsychological and neuroimaging (volumetric and voxel-based morphometric) features in a pathologically ascertained cohort of 95 cases of frontotemporal lobar degeneration classified according to contemporary neuropathological criteria. Forty-eight cases (51%) had TDP-43 pathology, 42 (44%) had tau pathology and five (5%) had fused-in-sarcoma pathology. Certain relatively specific clinicopathological associations were identified. Semantic dementia was predominantly associated with TDP-43 type C pathology; frontotemporal dementia and motoneuron disease with TDP-43 type B pathology; young-onset behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia with FUS pathology; and the progressive supranuclear palsy syndrome with progressive supranuclear palsy pathology. Progressive non-fluent aphasia was most commonly associated with tau pathology. However, the most common clinical syndrome (behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia) was pathologically heterogeneous; while pathologically proven Pick's disease and corticobasal degeneration were clinically heterogeneous, and TDP-43 type A pathology was associated with similar clinical features in cases with and without progranulin mutations. Volumetric magnetic resonance imaging, voxel-based morphometry and cluster analyses of the pathological groups here suggested a neuroanatomical framework underpinning this clinical and pathological diversity. Frontotemporal lobar degeneration-associated pathologies segregated based on their cerebral atrophy profiles, according to the following scheme: asymmetric, relatively localized (predominantly temporal lobe) atrophy (TDP-43 type C); relatively symmetric, relatively localized (predominantly temporal lobe) atrophy (microtubule-associated protein tau mutations); strongly asymmetric, distributed atrophy (Pick's disease); relatively symmetric, predominantly extratemporal atrophy (corticobasal degeneration, fused-in-sarcoma pathology). TDP-43 type A pathology was associated with substantial individual variation; however, within this group progranulin mutations were associated with strongly asymmetric, distributed hemispheric atrophy. We interpret the findings in terms of emerging network models of neurodegenerative disease: the neuroanatomical specificity of particular frontotemporal lobar degeneration pathologies may depend on an interaction of disease-specific and network-specific factors.
frontotemporal dementia; frontotemporal lobar degeneration; voxel-based morphometry; MRI; neural network
TAR DNA-binding protein-43 (TDP-43) proteinopathies are classified based upon the extent of modified TDP-43 inclusions and include a growing number of neurodegenerative diseases including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin immunoreactive, tau negative inclusions (FTLD-U) and FTLD with motor neuron disease (FTLD-MND). In addition, TDP-43 inclusions have also been identified in a number of other neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer's disease, corticobasal degeneration, Lewy body related diseases and Pick's disease. Current understanding suggests that in these diseases, TDP-43 is relocated from the nucleus to the cytoplasm and sequestered into inclusions that contain modified TDP-43. Major modifications of TDP-43 have been identified as being hyperphosphorylation and proteolytic cleavage by caspases. In this review a summary of the major findings regarding the proteolytic modification of TDP-43 will be discussed as well as potential toxic-gain mechanisms these fragments may cause including cytoskeletal disruptions.
Pick's disease; Pick bodies; Caspases; TDP-43; Hirano Bodies; Tau; Review; Alzheimer's disease; FTLD-U; ALS; actin
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is a clinically, genetically and pathologically heterogeneous disorder. Within FTLD with ubiquitin-positive inclusions (FTLD-U), a new pathological subtype named FTLD-FUS was recently found with fused in sarcoma (FUS) positive, TDP-43-negative inclusions, and striking atrophy of the caudate nucleus. The aim of this study was to determine the frequency of FTLD-FUS in our pathological FTLD series, and to describe the clinical, neuroimaging and neuropathological features of FTLD-FUS, especially caudate atrophy. Demographic and clinical data collected prospectively from 387 patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) yielded 74 brain specimens. Immunostaining was carried out using a panel of antibodies, including AT-8, ubiquitin, p62, FUS, and TDP-43. Cortical and caudate atrophy on MRI (n = 136) was rated as normal, mild-moderate or severe. Of the 37 FTLD-U cases, 33 were reclassified as FTLD-TDP and four (0.11, 95%: 0.00–0.21) as FTLD-FUS, with ubiquitin and FUS-positive, p62 and TDP-43-negative neuronal intranuclear inclusions (NII). All four FTLD-FUS cases had a negative family history, behavioural variant FTD (bvFTD), and three had an age at onset ≤40 years. MRI revealed mild-moderate or severe caudate atrophy in all, with a mean duration from onset till MRI of 63 months (range 16–119 months). In our total clinical FTD cohort, we found 11 patients (0.03; 95% CI: 0.01–0.05) with bvFTD, negative family history, and age at onset ≤40 years. Caudate atrophy was present in 10 out of 136 MRIs, and included all four FUS-cases. The newly identified FTLD-FUS has a frequency of 11% in FTLD-U, and an estimated frequency of three percent in our clinical FTD cohort. The existence of this pathological subtype can be predicted with reasonable certainty by age at onset ≤40 years, negative family history, bvFTD and caudate atrophy on MRI.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD); Ubiquitin; p62; TDP-43; FUS
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is clinically, pathologically and genetically heterogeneous. Three major proteins are implicated in its pathogenesis. About half of cases are characterized by depositions of the microtubule associated protein, tau (FTLD-tau). In most of the remaining cases, deposits of the transactive response (TAR) DNA-binding protein with Mw of 43 kDa, known as TDP-43 (FTLD-TDP), are seen. Lastly, about 5–10 % of cases are characterized by abnormal accumulations of a third protein, fused in sarcoma (FTLD-FUS). Depending on the protein concerned, the signature accumulations can take the form of inclusion bodies (neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions and neuronal intranuclear inclusions) or dystrophic neurites, in the cerebral cortex, hippocampus and subcortex. In some instances, glial cells are also affected by inclusion body formation. In motor neurone disease (MND), TDP-43 or FUS inclusions can present within motor neurons of the brain stem and spinal cord. This present paper attempts to critically examine the role of such proteins in the pathogenesis of FTLD and MND as to whether they might exert a direct pathogenetic effect (gain of function), or simply act as relatively innocent witnesses to a more fundamental loss of function effect. We conclude that although there is strong evidence for both gain and loss of function effects in respect of each of the proteins concerned, in reality, it is likely that each is a single face of either side of the coin, and that both will play separate, though complementary, roles in driving the damage which ultimately leads to the downfall of neurons and clinical expression of disease.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; Motor neurone disease; Microtubule associated protein; Tau; TDP-43; FUS; Gain of function; Loss of function
Over the past decade it has become clear that there is significant overlap in the clinical spectrum of frontotemporal lobar degeneration and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The identification of TDP-43 as the major disease protein in the pathology of both frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin inclusions and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis provides the first molecular link for these diseases. Pathological TDP-43 is abnormally phosphorylated, ubiquitinated, and cleaved to generate carboxy-terminal fragments in affected brain regions. The normal nuclear expression of TDP-43 is also reduced leading to the hypothesis that sequestration of TDP-43 in pathological inclusions contributes to disease pathogenesis. Thus, TDP-43 is the newest member of the growing list of neurodegenerative proteinopathies, but unique in that it lacks features of brain amyloidosis.
Fused in Sarcoma (FUS) proteinopathy is a feature of frontotemporal lobar dementia (FTLD), and mutation of the fus gene segregates with FTLD and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). To study the consequences of mutation in the fus gene, we created transgenic rats expressing the human fus gene with or without mutation. Overexpression of a mutant (R521C substitution), but not normal, human FUS induced progressive paralysis resembling ALS. Mutant FUS transgenic rats developed progressive paralysis secondary to degeneration of motor axons and displayed a substantial loss of neurons in the cortex and hippocampus. This neuronal loss was accompanied by ubiquitin aggregation and glial reaction. While transgenic rats that overexpressed the wild-type human FUS were asymptomatic at young ages, they showed a deficit in spatial learning and memory and a significant loss of cortical and hippocampal neurons at advanced ages. These results suggest that mutant FUS is more toxic to neurons than normal FUS and that increased expression of normal FUS is sufficient to induce neuron death. Our FUS transgenic rats reproduced some phenotypes of ALS and FTLD and will provide a useful model for mechanistic studies of FUS–related diseases.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal lobar degeneration are two related diseases characterized by degeneration of selected groups of neuronal cells. Neither of these diseases has a clear cause, and both are incurable at present. Mutation of the fus gene has recently been linked to these two diseases. Here, we describe a novel rat model that expresses a mutated form of the human fus gene and manifests the phenotypes and pathological features of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Establishment of this FUS transgenic rat model will allow not only for mechanistic study of FUS–related diseases, but also for quick development of therapies for these devastating diseases.
Autosomal dominant parkinsonism, hypoventilation, depression and severe weight loss (Perry syndrome) is an early-onset rapidly progressive disease. At autopsy, previous studies have found severe neuronal loss in the substantia nigra without Lewy bodies. Transactive response DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa (TDP-43) has recently been identified as a major ubiquitinated constituent of neuronal and glial inclusions in frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin-positive inclusions and in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. This study reports clinical, genetic and neuropathologic investigations of Perry syndrome.
Clinical data and autopsy brain tissue samples were collected from eight patients from four genealogically unrelated kindreds with Perry syndrome. Brain tissue was studied with immunohistochemistry and biochemistry for TDP-43. Patients were screened for mutations in the progranulin (GRN) and TDP-43 (TARDBP) genes.
The mean age at onset was 47 years (range: 40-56), and the mean age at death was 52 years (range: 44-64). In all patients, we identified TDP-43-positive neuronal inclusions, dystrophic neurites and axonal spheroids in a predominantly pallidonigral distribution, and we demonstrated changes in solubility and electrophoretic mobility of TDP-43 in brain tissue. The inclusions were highly pleomorphic and predominated in the extrapyramidal system, sparing the cortex, hippocampus and motor neurons. There were no mutations in GRN or TARDBP.
Perry syndrome displays unique TDP-43 pathology that is selective for the extrapyramidal system and spares the neocortex and motor neurons.
autosomal dominant; axonal dystrophy; neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions; pallidonigral; parkinsonism; Perry syndrome; TARDBP; TDP-43
Transactive response DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa (TDP-43), an RNA and DNA binding protein involved in transcriptional repression, RNA splicing and RNA metabolism during the stress response, is the major component of neuronal inclusions in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin inclusions, now referred to as FTLD-TDP. While initially thought to be relatively specific to ALS and FTLD-TDP, TDP-43 pathology has now been detected in a number of other neurodegenerative diseases, many associated with tau pathology, including Guam Parkinson dementia complex and Alzheimer's disease (AD). TDP-43 pathology is detected in 25% to 50% of AD cases, especially those with more severe clinical phenotype and greater Alzheimer type pathology, as well as AD cases with hippocampal sclerosis (HS). HS is characterized by selective neuronal loss affecting CA1 sector of the hippocampus, and most cases of HS, with or without AD, have TDP-43 pathology. Whether TDP-43 pathology is merely an incidental finding in AD or actually contributing to the more severe clinical phenotype remains unresolved. Presence of TDP-43 in normal elderly, who are at increased risk for AD, would strengthen the argument that it is not merely a secondary or incidental finding in end stage AD. Limited studies suggest that TDP-43 pathology is infrequent in neurologically normal elderly (3% or less). We provide an overview of what is known about TDP-43 in AD, normal aging and in other disorders and suggest that TDP-43 proteinopathies be considered in two classes - primary and secondary.
Alzheimer's disease (AD); amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD); neurofibrillary tangles (NFT); progranulin; tau; transactive response DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43)
Neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease (NIFID) is a frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) characterized by frontotemporal dementia (FTD), pyramidal and extrapyramidal signs. The disease is histologically characterized by the presence of abnormal neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCIs) which contain α-internexin and other neuronal intermediate filament (IF) proteins. Gigaxonin (GAN) is a cytoskeletal regulating protein and the genetic cause of giant axonal neuropathy. Since the immunoreactive profile of NCIs in NIFID is similar to that observed in brain sections from GanΔex1/Δex1 mice, we speculated that GAN could be a candidate gene causing NIFID. Therefore, we performed a mutation analysis of GAN in NIFID patients. Although the NCIs of NIFID and GanΔex1/Δex1 mice were immunohistochemically similar, no GAN variant was identified in DNA obtained from well-characterized cases of NIFID.
Neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease; α-Internexin; Gigaxonin; Mutation analysis
Neurodegenerative disorders characterized by neuronal and glial lesions containing aggregated pathological TDP-43 protein in the cytoplasm, nucleus, or neurites are collectively referred to as TDP-43 proteinopathies. Lesions containing aggregated TDP-43 protein are a hallmark of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitinated inclusions (FTLD-U). In addition, mutations in human TDP-43 cause ALS. We have developed a C. elegans model of TDP-43 proteinopathies to study the cellular, molecular, and genetic underpinnings of TDP-43 mediated neurotoxicity. Expression of normal human TDP-43 in all C. elegans neurons causes moderate motor defects, while ALS-mutant G290A, A315T, or M337V TDP-43 transgenes cause severe motor dysfunction. The model recapitulates some characteristic features of ALS and FTLD-U including age-induced decline in motor function, decreased lifespan, and degeneration of motor neurons accompanied by hyperphosphorylation, truncation, and ubiquitination of TDP-43 protein that accumulates in detergent insoluble protein deposits. In C. elegans, TDP-43 neurotoxicity is independent of activity of the cell death caspase CED-3. Furthermore, phosphorylation of TDP-43 at serine residues 409/410 drives mutant TDP-43 toxicity. This model provides a tractable system for further dissection of the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying TDP-43 neuropathology.
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD); TDP-43; Tardbp; neurodegeneration; neurotoxicity
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a clinical term encompassing dementia characterized by the presence of two major phenotypes: 1) behavioral and personality disorder, and 2) language disorder, which includes primary progressive aphasia and semantic dementia. Recently, the gene for familial frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) with ubiquitin-positive, tau-negative inclusions (FTLD-U) linked to chromosome 17 was cloned. In the present study, 62 unrelated patients from the Washington University Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and the Midwest Consortium for FTD with clinically diagnosed FTD and/or neuropathologically characterized cases of FTLD-U with or without motor neuron disease (MND) were screened for mutations in the progranulin gene (GRN; also PGRN). We discovered two pathogenic mutations in four families: 1) a single-base substitution within the 3′ splice acceptor site of intron 6/exon 7 (g.5913A>G [IVS6–2A>G]) causing skipping of exon 7 and premature termination of the coding sequence (PTC); and 2) a missense mutation in exon 1 (g.4068C>A) introducing a charged amino acid in the hydrophobic core of the signal peptide at residue 9 (p.A9D). Functional analysis in mutation carriers for the splice acceptor site mutation revealed a 50% decrease in GRN mRNA and protein levels, supporting haploinsufficiency. In contrast, there was no significant difference in the total GRN mRNA between cases and controls carrying the p.A9D mutation. Further, subcellular fractionation and confocal microscopy indicate that although the mutant protein is expressed, it is not secreted, and appears to be trapped within an intracellular compartment, possibly resulting in a functional haploinsufficiency.
Frontotemporal dementia; FTD; granulin; progranulin; GRN; PGRN