Targeted Depletion of TDP-43 Expression in the Spinal Cord Motor Neurons Leads to the Development of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis-like Phenotypes in Mice

Institute of Molecular Biology, Academia Sinica, Taipei 11574, Taiwan.
Journal of Biological Chemistry (Impact Factor: 4.6). 06/2012; 287(33):27335-44. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M112.359000
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive and fatal motor neuron disease with no effective medicine. Importantly, the majority of the ALS cases are with TDP-43 proteinopathies characterized with TDP-43-positive, ubiquitin-positive inclusions (UBIs) in the cytosol. However, the role of the mismetabolism of TDP-43 in the pathogenesis of ALS with TDP-43 proteinopathies is unclear. Using the conditional mouse gene targeting approach, we show that mice with inactivation of the Tardbp gene in the spinal cord motor neurons (HB9:Cre-Tardbp(lx/-)) exhibit progressive and male-dominant development of ALS-related phenotypes including kyphosis, motor dysfunctions, muscle weakness/atrophy, motor neuron loss, and astrocytosis in the spinal cord. Significantly, ubiquitinated proteins accumulate in the TDP-43-depleted motor neurons of the spinal cords of HB9:Cre-Tardbp(lx/-) mice with the ALS phenotypes. This study not only establishes an important role of TDP-43 in the long term survival and functioning of the mammalian spinal cord motor neurons, but also establishes that loss of TDP-43 function could be one major cause for neurodegeneration in ALS with TDP-43 proteinopathies.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Proteinaceous inclusions are common hallmarks of many neurodegenerative diseases. TDP-43 proteinopathies, consisting of several neurodegenerative diseases, including frontotemporal lobar dementia (FTLD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), are characterized by inclusion bodies formed by polyubiquitinated and hyperphosphorylated full-length and truncated TDP-43. The structural properties of TDP-43 aggregates and their relationship to pathogenesis are still ambiguous. Here we demonstrate that the recombinant full-length human TDP-43 forms structurally stable, spherical oligomers that share common epitopes with an anti-amyloid oligomer-specific antibody. The TDP-43 oligomers are stable, have exposed hydrophobic surfaces, exhibit reduced DNA binding capability and are neurotoxic in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, TDP-43 oligomers are capable of cross-seeding Alzheimer's amyloid-β to form amyloid oligomers, demonstrating interconvertibility between the amyloid species. Such oligomers are present in the forebrain of transgenic TDP-43 mice and FTLD-TDP patients. Our results suggest that aside from filamentous aggregates, TDP-43 oligomers may play a role in TDP-43 pathogenesis.
    Nature Communications 09/2014; 5:4824. DOI:10.1038/ncomms5824 · 10.74 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Therapeutic options for patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are currently limited. However, recent studies show that almost all cases of ALS, as well as tau-negative frontotemporal dementia (FTD), share a common neuropathology characterized by the deposition of TAR-DNA binding protein (TDP)-43-positive protein inclusions, offering an attractive target for the design and testing of novel therapeutics. Here we demonstrate how diverse environmental stressors linked to stress granule formation, as well as mutations in genes encoding RNA processing proteins and protein degradation adaptors, initiate ALS pathogenesis via TDP-43. We review the progressive development of TDP-43 proteinopathy from cytoplasmic mislocalization and misfolding through to macroaggregation and the addition of phosphate and ubiquitin moieties. Drawing from cellular and animal studies, we explore the feasibility of therapeutics that act at each point in pathogenesis, from mitigating genetic risk using antisense oligonucleotides to modulating TDP-43 proteinopathy itself using small molecule activators of autophagy, the ubiquitin-proteasome system, or the chaperone network. We present the case that preventing the misfolding of TDP-43 and/or enhancing its clearance represents the most important target for effectively treating ALS and frontotemporal dementia.
    Neurotherapeutics 02/2015; DOI:10.1007/s13311-015-0338-x · 3.88 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: For over a century Drosophila melanogaster, commonly known as the fruit fly, has been instrumental in genetics research and disease modeling. In more recent years, it has been a powerful tool for modeling and studying neurodegenerative diseases, including the devastating and fatal amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The success of this model organism in ALS research comes from the availability of tools to manipulate gene/protein expression in a number of desired cell-types, and the subsequent recapitulation of cellular and molecular phenotypic features of the disease. Several Drosophila models have now been developed for studying the roles of ALS-associated genes in disease pathogenesis that allowed us to understand the molecular pathways that lead to motor neuron degeneration in ALS patients. Our primary goal in this review is to highlight the lessons we have learned using Drosophila models pertaining to ALS research.
    Brain Research 10/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.brainres.2014.09.064 · 2.83 Impact Factor