ABSTRACT: Nuclear exclusion of TAR DNA binding protein 43 (TDP-43) and formation of cytosolic aggregates are a pathological characteristic of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). However, the molecular basis of the aberrant distribution of TDP-43 remains elusive. Here, we show evidence that axonal ligation induced transient nuclear exclusion and peripheral accumulation of TDP-43, without apparent cytosolic aggregates in hypoglossal neurons in mice. Immunohistochemistry showed marked loss of nuclear TDP-43 7-14 days after ligation, which was accompanied by reduction of choline acetyltransferase (ChAT). TDP-43 staining was restored in the nucleus on day 28 exclusively in the neurons with normalized ChAT expression. We also showed that importin beta, which was shown to mediate nuclear transport of TDP-43 was downregulated transiently by nerve ligation. The analysis of the peripheral nerves proximal to the ligation revealed that TDP-43 markedly accumulated with a concomitant decrease in active autophagosome. Moreover, we showed that TDP-43 was present in the microsome fraction containing endoplasmic reticulum (ER) or autophagosomes in the brainstem section, indicating that TDP-43 is axonally transported with vesicles. These results indicate that axonal damage is associated with redistribution of TDP-43 through the combination of defective axonal autophagy periphery and the impaired nuclear transport system in the soma. Moreover, it was also shown that transient redistribution of TDP-43 does not prevent motor neurons from axonal regeneration. Therefore, our data suggest that the subcellular distribution of TDP-43 correlates to the innervation status of motor neurons, which may be governed by unidentified cause of ALS.
Neuroscience 09/2009; 164(4):1565-78. · 3.38 Impact Factor