Distinct pathways leading to TDP-43-induced cellular dysfunctions.

Human molecular genetics (2014-04-05)
Makiko Yamashita, Takashi Nonaka, Shinobu Hirai, Akiko Miwa, Haruo Okado, Tetsuaki Arai, Masato Hosokawa, Haruhiko Akiyama, Masato Hasegawa
ABSTRACT

TAR DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa (TDP-43) is the major component protein of inclusions found in brains of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD-TDP). However, the molecular mechanisms by which TDP-43 causes neuronal dysfunction and death remain unknown. Here, we report distinct cytotoxic effects of full-length TDP-43 (FL-TDP) and its C-terminal fragment (CTF) in SH-SY5Y cells. When FL-TDP was overexpressed in the cells using a lentiviral system, exogenous TDP-43, like endogenous TDP-43, was expressed mainly in nuclei of cells without any intracellular inclusions. However, these cells showed striking cell death, caspase activation and growth arrest at G2/M phase, indicating that even simple overexpression of TDP-43 induces cellular dysfunctions leading to apoptosis. On the other hand, cells expressing TDP-43 CTF showed cytoplasmic aggregates but without significant cell death, compared with cells expressing FL-TDP. Confocal microscopic analyses revealed that RNA polymerase II (RNA pol II) and several transcription factors, such as specificity protein 1 and cAMP-response-element-binding protein, were co-localized with the aggregates of TDP-43 CTF, suggesting that sequestration of these factors into TDP-43 aggregates caused transcriptional dysregulation. Indeed, accumulation of RNA pol II at TDP-43 inclusions was detected in brains of patients with FTLD-TDP. Furthermore, apoptosis was not observed in affected neurons of FTLD-TDP brains containing phosphorylated and aggregated TDP-43 pathology. Our results suggest that different pathways of TDP-43-induced cellular dysfunction may contribute to the degeneration cascades involved in the onset of ALS and FTLD-TDP.

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