Screening for TARDBP mutations in Japanese familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Department of Epidemiology, Research Institute for Radiation Biology and Medicine, Hiroshima University, 1-2-3 Kasumi, Minami-ku, Hiroshima 734-8553, Japan.
Journal of the neurological sciences (Impact Factor: 2.32). 06/2009; 284(1-2):69-71. DOI: 10.1016/j.jns.2009.04.017
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT TAR-DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43), encoded by the TARDBP gene on chromosome 1p36.22, has been identified as the major pathological protein in abnormal inclusions in neurons and glial cells in sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (SALS), SOD1-negative familial ALS (FALS) and frontotemporal lobar dementia (FTLD). Twenty mutations of TARDBP in SOD1-negative FALS and SALS cases have been reported so far. To investigate the presence and frequency of TARDBP mutations in Japanese SOD1-negative FALS patients, we performed mutational screening of TARDBP in 30 SOD1-negative FALS patients. An N352S mutation was found in one case of FALS, but no TARDBP mutations were found in cases of SALS. It was thought that this mutation increases TDP-43 phosphorylation. This might lead to impaired nuclear cytoplasmic transport or protein-protein interaction, thereby leading to TDP-43 accumulation.

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    ABSTRACT: TDP-43 is a nuclear protein whose abnormal aggregates are implicated in ALS and FTLD. Recently, an Asn/Gln rich C-terminal segment of TDP-43 has been shown to produce aggregation in vitro and reproduce most of the protein's pathological hallmarks in cells, but little is known about this segment's structure. Here, CD and 2D heteronuclear NMR spectroscopies provide evidence that peptides corresponding to the wild type and mutated sequences of this segment adopt chiefly disordered conformations that, in the case of the wild type sequence, spontaneously forms a β-sheet rich oligomer. Moreover, MD simulation provides evidence for a structure consisting of two β-strands and a well-defined, yet non-canonical structural element. Furthermore, MD simulations of four pathological mutations (Q343R, N345K, G348V and N352S) occurring in this segment predict that all of them could affect this region's structure. In particular, the Q343R variant tends to stabilize disordered conformers, N345K permits the formation of longer, more stable β-strands, and G348V tends to shorten and destabilize them. Finally, N352S acts to alter the β-stand register and when S352 is phosphorylated, it induces partial unfolding. Our results provide a better understanding of TDP-43 aggregation process and will be useful to design effectors capable to modulate its progression.
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