Potentiation of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)-associated TDP-43 aggregation by the proteasome-targeting factor, ubiquilin 1.
ABSTRACT: TDP-43 (43-kDa TAR DNA-binding domain protein) is a major constituent of ubiquitin-positive cytoplasmic aggregates present in neurons of patients with fronto-temporal lobular dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The pathologic significance of TDP-43 aggregation is not known; however, dominant mutations in TDP-43 cause a subset of ALS cases, suggesting that misfolding and/or altered trafficking of TDP-43 is relevant to the disease process. Here, we show that the presenilin-binding protein ubiquilin 1 (UBQLN) plays a role in TDP-43 aggregation. TDP-43 interacted with UBQLN both in yeast and in vitro, and the carboxyl-terminal ubiquitin-associated domain of UBQLN was both necessary and sufficient for binding to polyubiquitylated forms of TDP-43. Overexpression of UBQLN recruited TDP-43 to detergent-resistant cytoplasmic aggregates that colocalized with the autophagosomal marker, LC3. UBQLN-dependent aggregation required the UBQLN UBA domain, was mediated by non-overlapping regions of TDP-43, and was abrogated by a mutation in UBQLN previously linked to Alzheimer disease. Four ALS-associated alleles of TDP-43 also coaggregated with UBQLN, and the extent of aggregation correlated with in vitro UBQLN binding affinity. Our findings suggest that UBQLN is a polyubiquitin-TDP-43 cochaperone that mediates the autophagosomal delivery and/or proteasome targeting of TDP-43 aggregates.
Project description:C9ORF72-hexanucleotide repeat expansions and ubiquilin-2 (UBQLN2) mutations are recently identified genetic markers in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). We investigate the relationship between C9ORF72 expansions and the clinical phenotype and neuropathology of ALS and FTLD. Genetic analysis and immunohistochemistry (IHC) were performed on autopsy-confirmed ALS (N = 75), FTLD-TDP (N = 30), AD (N = 14), and controls (N = 11). IHC for neurodegenerative disease pathology consisted of C9ORF72, UBQLN, p62, and TDP-43. A C9ORF72 expansion was identified in 19.4 % of ALS and 31 % of FTLD-TDP cases. ALS cases with C9ORF72 expansions frequently showed a bulbar onset of disease (57 %) and more rapid disease progression to death compared to non-expansion cases. Staining with C9ORF72 antibodies did not yield specific pathology. UBQLN pathology showed a highly distinct pattern in ALS and FTLD-TDP cases with the C9ORF72 expansion, with UBQLN-positive cytoplasmic inclusions in the cerebellar granular layer and extensive UBQLN-positive aggregates and dystrophic neurites in the hippocampal molecular layer and CA regions. These UBQLN pathologies were sufficiently unique to allow correct prediction of cases that were later confirmed to have C9ORF72 expansions by genetic analysis. UBQLN pathology partially co-localized with p62, and to a minor extent with TDP-43 positive dystrophic neurites and spinal cord skein-like inclusions. Our data indicate a pathophysiological link between C9ORF72 expansions and UBQLN proteins in ALS and FTLD-TDP that is associated with a highly characteristic pattern of UBQLN pathology. Our study indicates that this pathology is associated with alterations in clinical phenotype, and suggests that the presence of C9ORF72 repeat expansions may indicate a worse prognosis in ALS.
Project description:TDP-43 (43-kDa TAR DNA-binding protein) is a major constituent of ubiquitin-positive cytosolic aggregates present in neurons of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and ubiquitin-positive fronto-temporal lobar degeneration (FTLD-U). Inherited mutations in TDP-43 have been linked to familial forms of ALS, indicating a key role for TDP-43 in disease pathogenesis. Here, we describe a Drosophila melanogaster model of TDP-43 proteinopathy. Expression of wild-type human TDP-43 protein in Drosophila motor neurons led to motor dysfunction and dramatic reduction of life span. Interestingly, coexpression of ubiquilin 1, a previously identified TDP-43-interacting protein with suspected functions in autophagy and proteasome targeting, reduced steady-state TDP-43 expression but enhanced the severity of TDP-43 phenotypes. Finally, ectopically expressed TDP-43 was largely localized to motor neuron nuclei, suggesting that expression of wild-type TDP-43 alone is detrimental even in the absence of cytosolic aggregation. Our findings demonstrate that TDP-43 exerts cell-autonomous neurotoxicity in Drosophila and further imply that dose-dependent alterations of TDP-43 nuclear function may underlie motor neuron death in ALS.
Project description:Aggregates of the RNA-binding protein TDP-43 (TAR DNA-binding protein) are a hallmark of the overlapping neurodegenerative disorders amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia. The process of TDP-43 aggregation remains poorly understood, and whether it includes formation of intermediate complexes is unknown. Here, we analyzed aggregates derived from purified TDP-43 under semidenaturing conditions, identifying distinct oligomeric complexes at the initial time points before the formation of large aggregates. We found that this early oligomerization stage is primarily driven by TDP-43's RNA-binding region. Specific binding to GU-rich RNA strongly inhibited both TDP-43 oligomerization and aggregation, suggesting that RNA interactions are critical for maintaining TDP-43 solubility. Moreover, we analyzed TDP-43 liquid-liquid phase separation and detected similar detergent-resistant oligomers upon maturation of liquid droplets into solid-like fibrils. These results strongly suggest that the oligomers form during the early steps of TDP-43 misfolding. Importantly, the ALS-linked TDP-43 mutations A315T and M337V significantly accelerate aggregation, rapidly decreasing the monomeric population and shortening the oligomeric phase. We also show that aggregates generated from purified TDP-43 seed intracellular aggregation detected by established TDP-43 pathology markers. Remarkably, cytoplasmic aggregate seeding was detected earlier for the A315T and M337V variants and was 50% more widespread than for WT TDP-43 aggregates. We provide evidence for an initial step of TDP-43 self-assembly into intermediate oligomeric complexes, whereby these complexes may provide a scaffold for aggregation. This process is altered by ALS-linked mutations, underscoring the role of perturbations in TDP-43 homeostasis in protein aggregation and ALS-FTD pathogenesis.
Project description:Cytoplasmic inclusion of TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) is a pathological hallmark of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and a subtype of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). Recent studies have suggested that the formation of cytoplasmic TDP-43 aggregates is dependent on a liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) mechanism. However, it is unclear whether TDP-43 pathology is induced through a single intracellular mechanism such as LLPS. To identify intracellular mechanisms responsible for TDP-43 aggregation, we established a TDP-43 aggregation screening system using a cultured neuronal cell line stably expressing EGFP-fused TDP-43 and a mammalian expression library of the inherited ALS/FTLD causative genes, and performed a screening. We found that microtubule-related proteins (MRPs) and RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) co-aggregated with TDP-43. MRPs and RBPs sequestered TDP-43 into the cytoplasmic aggregates through distinct mechanisms, such as microtubules and LLPS, respectively. The MRPs-induced TDP-43 aggregates were co-localized with aggresomal markers and dependent on histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6), suggesting that aggresome formation induced the co-aggregation. However, the MRPs-induced aggregates were not affected by 1,6-hexanediol, an LLPS inhibitor. On the other hand, the RBPs-induced TDP-43 aggregates were sensitive to 1,6-hexanediol, but not dependent on microtubules or HDAC6. In sporadic ALS patients, approximately half of skein-like TDP-43 inclusions were co-localized with HDAC6, but round and granular type inclusion were not. Moreover, HDAC6-positive and HDAC6-negative inclusions were found in the same ALS patient, suggesting that the two distinct pathways are both involved in TDP-43 pathology. Our findings suggest that at least two distinct pathways (i.e., aggresome formation and LLPS) are involved in inducing the TDP-43 pathologies.
Project description:Proteinaceous aggregates are major hallmarks of several neurodegenerative diseases. Aggregates of post-translationally modified transactive response (TAR)-DNA binding protein 43 (TDP-43) in cytoplasmic inclusion bodies are characteristic features in frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Recent studies have also reported TDP-43 aggregation in Alzheimer's disease (AD). TDP-43 is an RNA/DNA binding protein (RBP) mainly present in the nucleus. In addition to several RBPs, TDP-43 has also been reported in stress granules in FTD and ALS pathologies. Despite knowledge of cytoplasmic mislocalization of TDP-43, the cellular effects of TDP-43 aggregates and their cytotoxic mechanism(s) remain to be clarified. We hypothesize that TDP-43 forms oligomeric assemblies that associate with tau, another key protein involved in ALS and FTD. However, no prior studies have investigated the interactions between TDP-43 oligomers and tau. It is therefore important to thoroughly investigate the cross-seeding properties and cellular localization of both TDP-43 and tau oligomers in neurodegenerative diseases. Here, we demonstrate the effect of tau on the cellular localization of TDP-43 in WT and P301L tau-inducible cell models (iHEK) and in WT HEK-293 cells treated exogenously with soluble human recombinant tau oligomers (Exo-rTauO). We observed cytoplasmic TDP-43 accumulation o in the presence of tau in these cell models. We also studied the occurrence of TDP-43 oligomers in AD, ALS, and FTD human brain tissue using novel antibodies generated against TDP-43 oligomers as well as generic TDP-43 antibodies. Finally, we examined the cross-seeding property of AD, ALS, and FTD brain-derived TDP-43 oligomers (BDT43Os) on tau aggregation using biochemical and biophysical assays. Our results allow us to speculate that TDP-43/tau interactions might play a role in AD, ALS, and FTD.
Project description:The identification of pathologic TDP-43 aggregates in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration, followed by the discovery of dominantly inherited point mutations in TDP-43 in familial ALS, have been critical insights into the mechanism of these untreatable neurodegenerative diseases. However, the biochemical basis of TDP-43 aggregation and the mechanism of how mutations in TDP-43 lead to disease remain enigmatic. In efforts to understand how TDP-43 alters its cellular localization in response to proteotoxic stress, we found that TDP-43 is sequestered into polyglutamine aggregates. Furthermore, we found that binding to polyglutamine aggregates requires a previously uncharacterized glutamine/asparagine (Q/N)-rich region in the C-terminal domain of TDP-43. Sequestration into polyglutamine aggregates causes TDP-43 to be cleared from the nucleus and become detergent-insoluble. Finally, we observed that sequestration into polyglutamine aggregates led to loss of TDP-43-mediated splicing in the nucleus and that polyglutamine toxicity could be partially rescued by increasing expression of TDP-43. These data indicate pathologic sequestration into polyglutamine aggregates, and loss of nuclear TDP-43 function may play an unexpected role in polyglutamine disease pathogenesis. Furthermore, as Q/N domains have a strong tendency to self-aggregate and in some cases can function as prions, the identification of a Q/N domain in TDP-43 has important implications for the mechanism of pathologic aggregation of TDP-43 in ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Project description:Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are neurodegenerative diseases that show considerable clinical and pathologic overlap, with no effective treatments available. Mutations in the RNA binding protein TDP-43 were recently identified in patients with familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and TDP-43 aggregates are found in both ALS and FTLD-U (FTLD with ubiquitin aggregates), suggesting a common underlying mechanism. We report that mice expressing a mutant form of human TDP-43 develop a progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disease reminiscent of both ALS and FTLD-U. Despite universal transgene expression throughout the nervous system, pathologic aggregates of ubiquitinated proteins accumulate only in specific neuronal populations, including layer 5 pyramidal neurons in frontal cortex, as well as spinal motor neurons, recapitulating the phenomenon of selective vulnerability seen in patients with FTLD-U and ALS. Surprisingly, cytoplasmic TDP-43 aggregates are not present, and hence are not required for TDP-43-induced neurodegeneration. These results indicate that the cellular and molecular substrates for selective vulnerability in FTLD-U and ALS are shared between mice and humans, and suggest that altered DNA/RNA-binding protein function, rather than toxic aggregation, is central to TDP-43-related neurodegeneration.
Project description:The transactivation response element (TAR) DNA-binding protein-43 (TDP-43) is a nuclear protein that normally regulates transcription and splicing. Abnormal accumulation of insoluble inclusions containing TDP-43 has been recently reported in the affected tissues of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients. Here, we show that intracellular aggregation of TDP-43 can be triggered by transduction of fibrillar aggregates prepared from in vitro functional TDP-43. Sarkosyl is found to be incapable of solubilizing those intracellularly seeded aggregates of TDP-43, which is consistent with the observation that TDP-43 inclusions in ALS patients are sarkosyl-insoluble. In addition, intracellular seeding in our cell models reproduces ubiquitination of TDP-43 aggregates, which is another prominent feature of TDP-43 inclusions in ALS patients. Although it has been so far difficult to initiate disease-associated changes of TDP-43 using cultured cell models, we propose that a seeding reaction is a key to construct a model to monitor TDP-43 pathologies.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) presents with focal muscle weakness due to motor neuron degeneration that becomes generalized, leading to death from respiratory failure within 3-5 years from symptom onset. Despite the heterogeneity of aetiology, TDP-43 proteinopathy is a common pathological feature that is observed in >95% of ALS and tau-negative frontotemporal dementia (FTD) cases. TDP-43 is a DNA/RNA-binding protein that in ALS and FTD translocates from being predominantly nuclear to form detergent-resistant, hyperphosphorylated aggregates in the cytoplasm of affected neurons and glia. Mutations in TARDBP account for 1-4% of all ALS cases and almost all arise in the low complexity C-terminal domain that does not affect RNA binding and processing. Here we report an ALS/FTD kindred with a novel K181E TDP-43 mutation that is located in close proximity to the RRM1 domain. To offer predictive gene testing to at-risk family members, we undertook a series of functional studies to characterize the properties of the mutation. Spectroscopy studies of the K181E protein revealed no evidence of significant misfolding. Although it is unable to bind to or splice RNA, it forms abundant aggregates in transfected cells. We extended our study to include other ALS-linked mutations adjacent to the RRM domains that also disrupt RNA binding and greatly enhance TDP-43 aggregation, forming detergent-resistant and hyperphosphorylated inclusions. Lastly, we demonstrate that K181E binds to, and sequesters, wild-type TDP-43 within nuclear and cytoplasmic inclusions. Thus, we demonstrate that TDP-43 mutations that disrupt RNA binding greatly enhance aggregation and are likely to be pathogenic as they promote wild-type TDP-43 to mislocalize and aggregate acting in a dominant-negative manner. This study highlights the importance of RNA binding to maintain TDP-43 solubility and the role of TDP-43 aggregation in disease pathogenesis.
Project description:Aggregation of TAR DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa (TDP-43) is a pathological signature of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Although accumulating evidence suggests the involvement of RNA recognition motifs (RRMs) in TDP-43 proteinopathy, it remains unclear how native TDP-43 is converted to pathogenic forms. To elucidate the role of homeostasis of RRM1 structure in ALS pathogenesis, conformations of RRM1 under high pressure were monitored by NMR. We first found that RRM1 was prone to aggregation and had three regions showing stable chemical shifts during misfolding. Moreover, mass spectrometric analysis of aggregated RRM1 revealed that one of the regions was located on protease-resistant ?-strands containing two cysteines (Cys-173 and Cys-175), indicating that this region served as a core assembly interface in RRM1 aggregation. Although a fraction of RRM1 aggregates comprised disulfide-bonded oligomers, the substitution of cysteine(s) to serine(s) (C/S) resulted in unexpected acceleration of amyloid fibrils of RRM1 and disulfide-independent aggregate formation of full-length TDP-43. Notably, TDP-43 aggregates with RRM1-C/S required the C terminus, and replicated cytopathologies of ALS, including mislocalization, impaired RNA splicing, ubiquitination, phosphorylation, and motor neuron toxicity. Furthermore, RRM1-C/S accentuated inclusions of familial ALS-linked TDP-43 mutants in the C terminus. The relevance of RRM1-C/S-induced TDP-43 aggregates in ALS pathogenesis was verified by immunolabeling of inclusions of ALS patients and cultured cells overexpressing the RRM1-C/S TDP-43 with antibody targeting misfolding-relevant regions. Our results indicate that cysteines in RRM1 crucially govern the conformation of TDP-43, and aberrant self-assembly of RRM1 at amyloidogenic regions contributes to pathogenic conversion of TDP-43 in ALS.