Neuronal Expression of UBQLN2P497H Exacerbates TDP-43 Pathology in TDP-43G348C Mice through Interaction with Ubiquitin.
ABSTRACT: Mutations in the gene encoding ubiquilin-2 (UBQLN2) are linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). UBQLN2 plays a central role in ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) and UBQLN2 up-regulation exacerbates TDP-43 cytoplasmic aggregates. To analyze interaction between UBQLN2 and TDP-43 and to produce a relevant ALS animal model, we have generated a new transgenic mouse expressing UBQLN2P497H under the neurofilament heavy (NFH) gene promoter. The UBQLN2P497H mice were then bred with our previously described TDP-43G348C mice to generate double-transgenic UBQLN2P497H; TDP-43G348C mice. With low-expression levels of UBQLN2, the double-transgenic mice developed TDP-43 cytosolic accumulations in motor neurons starting at 5 months of age. These double-transgenic mice exhibited motor neuron loss, muscle atrophy, as well as motor and cognitive deficits during aging. The microglia from double-transgenic mice were hyperresponsive to intraperitoneal injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). In vivo and in vitro analyses suggested that extra UBQLN2 proteins can exacerbate cytoplasmic TDP-43 accumulations by competing with the UPS for binding to ubiquitin. Thus, increasing the pool of ubiquitin promoted the UPS function with ensuing reduction of TDP-43 cytosolic accumulations. In conclusion, the double-transgenic UBQLN2P497H; TDP-43G348C mice provides a unique mouse model of ALS/FTD with enhanced TDP-43 pathology that can be exploited for drug testing.
Project description:Tar DNA binding protein 43 (TDP-43) mislocalization and aggregation is a hallmark of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar dementia. Moreover, TDP-43 mRNA was found to be upregulated by ?2.5-fold in the spinal cord of sporadic ALS subjects. Here we have examined the effects of nerve injury in new transgenic mouse models overexpressing by approximately threefold wild-type or mutant (G348C) TDP-43 species. Four weeks after axonal crush of sciatic nerve, TDP-43 transgenic mice remained paralyzed at the injured limb unlike control mice, which had regained most of their normal mobility. In contrast to normal mice, TDP-43 transgenic mice exhibited sustained elevation of TDP-43 cytoplasmic levels in motor neurons after nerve crush, and the relocalization of TDP-43 to the nucleus was delayed by several weeks. After crush, peripherin and ubiquitin levels remained also significantly elevated in TDP-43 transgenic mice compared with control mice. Analysis of the sciatic nerve at 11 d after nerve crush showed that the number of regenerating axons in the distal portion of the lesion was considerably reduced in TDP-43 transgenic mice, especially in TDP-43(G348C) mice, which exhibited a reduction of ?40%. In addition, markers of neuroinflammation were detected at much higher levels in TDP-43 transgenic mice. These results suggest that a deregulation of TDP-43 expression in ALS is a phenomenon that can affect the regenerative responses to neuronal injury and regrowth potential of axons.
Project description:Dominant missense mutations in TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and the cytoplasmic accumulation of TDP-43 represents a pathological hallmark in ALS and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTD). Behavioral investigation of the transgenic mouse model expressing the disease-causing human TDP-43 M337V mutant (TDP-43<sup>M337V</sup> mice) is encumbered by premature death in homozygous transgenic mice and a reported lack of phenotype assessed by tail elevation and footprint in hemizygous transgenic mice. Here, using a battery of motor-coordinative and cognitive tests, we report robust motor-coordinative and cognitive deficits in hemizygous TDP-43<sup>M337V</sup> mice by 8 months of age. After 12 months of age, cortical neurons are significantly affected by the mild expression of mutant TDP-43, characterized by cytoplasmic TDP-43 mislocalization, mitochondrial dysfunction, and neuronal loss. Compared with age-matched non-transgenic mice, TDP-43<sup>M337V</sup> mice demonstrate a similar expression of total TDP-43 but higher levels of TDP-43 in mitochondria. Interestingly, a TDP-43 mitochondrial localization inhibitory peptide abolishes cytoplasmic TDP-43 accumulation, restores mitochondrial function, prevents neuronal loss, and alleviates motor-coordinative and cognitive deficits in adult hemizygous TDP-43<sup>M337V</sup> mice. Thus, this study suggests hemizygous TDP-43<sup>M337V</sup> mice as a useful animal model to study TDP-43 toxicity and further consolidates mitochondrial TDP-43 as a novel therapeutic target for TDP-43-linked neurodegenerative diseases.
Project description:The DNA/RNA-binding proteins TDP-43 and FUS are found in protein aggregates in a growing number of neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and related dementia, but little is known about the neurotoxic mechanisms. We have generated Caenorhabditis elegans and zebrafish animal models expressing mutant human TDP-43 (A315T or G348C) or FUS (S57? or R521H) that reflect certain aspects of ALS including motor neuron degeneration, axonal deficits, and progressive paralysis. To explore the potential of our humanized transgenic C. elegans and zebrafish in identifying chemical suppressors of mutant TDP-43 and FUS neuronal toxicity, we tested three compounds with potential neuroprotective properties: lithium chloride, methylene blue and riluzole. We identified methylene blue as a potent suppressor of TDP-43 and FUS toxicity in both our models. Our results indicate that methylene blue can rescue toxic phenotypes associated with mutant TDP-43 and FUS including neuronal dysfunction and oxidative stress.
Project description:Retention of <sup>18</sup>F-Flortaucipir is reportedly increased in the semantic variant of primary progressive aphasia (svPPA), which is dominated by TDP-43 pathology. However, it is unclear if <sup>18</sup>F-Flortaucipir is also increased in other TDP-43 diseases, such as bvFTD caused by a C9orf72 gene mutation. We therefore recruited six C9orf72 expansion carriers, six svPPA patients, and 54 healthy controls. All underwent <sup>18</sup>F-Flortaucipir PET and MRI scanning. Data from 39 Alzheimer's Disease patients were used for comparison. PET tracer retention was assessed both at the region-of-interest (ROI) and at the voxel-level. Further, autoradiography using <sup>3</sup>H-Flortaucipir was performed. SvPPA patients exhibited higher <sup>18</sup>F-Flortaucipir retention in the lateral temporal cortex bilaterally according to ROI- and voxel-based analyses. In C9orf72 patients, <sup>18</sup>F-Flortaucipir binding was slightly increased in the inferior frontal lobes in the ROI based analysis, but these results were not replicated in the voxel-based analysis. Autoradiography did not show specific binding in svPPA cases or in C9orf72-mutation carriers. In conclusion, temporal lobe <sup>18</sup>F-Flortaucipir retention was observed in some cases of svPPA, but the uptake was of a lower magnitude compared to AD dementia. C9orf72-mutation carriers exhibited none or limited <sup>18</sup>F-Flortaucipir retention, indicating that <sup>18</sup>F-Flortaucipir binding in TDP-43 proteinopathies is not a general TDP-43 related phenomenon.
Project description:Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) causes progressive personality, behavior and/or language disturbances and represents the second most common form of dementia under the age of 65. Over half of all FTD cases are classified pathologically as frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) with TAR DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa (TDP-43) pathology (FTLD-TDP). In FTLD-TDP brains, TDP-43 is phosphorylated, C-terminally cleaved, lost from the nucleus and accumulates in the cytoplasm and processes of neurons and glia. However, the contribution of TDP-43 C-terminal fragments (CTFs) to pathogenesis remains poorly understood. Here, we developed transgenic (Tg) mice with forebrain Camk2a-controlled doxycycline-suppressible expression of a TDP-43 CTF (amino acids 208-414, designated 208 TDP-43 CTF), previously identified in FTLD-TDP brains. In these 208 TDP-43 Tg mice, detergent-insoluble 208 TDP-43 CTF was present in a diffuse punctate pattern in neuronal cytoplasm and dendrites without forming large cytoplasmic inclusions. Remarkably, the hippocampus showed progressive neuron loss and astrogliosis in the dentate gyrus (DG). This was accompanied by phosphorylated TDP-43 in the CA1 subfield, and ubiquitin and mitochondria accumulations in the stratum lacunosum moleculare (SLM) layer, without loss of endogenous nuclear TDP-43. Importantly, 208 TDP-43 CTF and phosphorylated TDP-43 were rapidly cleared when CTF expression was suppressed in aged Tg mice, which ameliorated neuron loss in the DG despite persistence of ubiquitin accumulation in the SLM. Our results demonstrate that Camk2a-directed 208 TDP-43 CTF overexpression is sufficient to cause hippocampal pathology and neurodegeneration in vivo, suggesting an active role for TDP-43 CTFs in the pathogenesis of FTLD-TDP and related TDP-43 proteinopathies.
Project description:Mutations in the DNA/RNA binding proteins TDP-43 and FUS are associated with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration. Intracellular accumulations of wild type TDP-43 and FUS are observed in a growing number of late-onset diseases suggesting that TDP-43 and FUS proteinopathies may contribute to multiple neurodegenerative diseases. To better understand the mechanisms of TDP-43 and FUS toxicity we have created transgenic Caenorhabditis elegans strains that express full-length, untagged human TDP-43 and FUS in the worm's GABAergic motor neurons. Transgenic worms expressing mutant TDP-43 and FUS display adult-onset, age-dependent loss of motility, progressive paralysis and neuronal degeneration that is distinct from wild type alleles. Additionally, mutant TDP-43 and FUS proteins are highly insoluble while wild type proteins remain soluble suggesting that protein misfolding may contribute to toxicity. Populations of mutant TDP-43 and FUS transgenics grown on solid media become paralyzed over 7 to 12 days. We have developed a liquid culture assay where the paralysis phenotype evolves over several hours. We introduce C. elegans transgenics for mutant TDP-43 and FUS motor neuron toxicity that may be used for rapid genetic and pharmacological suppressor screening.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a late-onset progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects both upper and lower motor neurons, leading to muscle atrophy with spasticity and eventual death in 3-5 years after the disease onset. More than 50 mutations linked to ALS have been found in the gene TARDBP, encoding the protein TDP-43 that is the predominant component of neuronal inclusions in ALS. TDP-43 is an RNA binding protein with glycine-rich domains that binds to more than 6,000 RNAs in the human brain. However, ALS-related mutations do not appear to affect the function of these genes, indicating that a toxic gain-of-function may occur. We generated transgenic zebrafish lines expressing human TDP-43, either the wild-type form or the ALS-causative G348C mutation identified in a subset of ALS patients, with the transgene expression driven by an inducible heat shock promoter in order to bypass a potential early mortality. The expression of the mutant but not the wild-type human TDP-43 in zebrafish embryos induced a reduction of the locomotor activity in response to touch compared to controls and moderate axonopathy of the motor neurons of the spinal cord, with premature branching of the main axonal branch, recapitulating previous results obtained by mRNA injections. We used these lines to investigate transcriptomic changes due to the presence of mutant TDP-43 using RNA sequencing and have found 159 genes that are differentially expressed compared to control, with 67 genes up-regulated and 92 genes down-regulated. These transcriptomic changes are in line with recent transcriptomic data obtained in mouse models, indicating that these zebrafish transgenic lines are adequate to further study TDP-43-related ALS.
Project description:TDP-43 is an RNA-binding protein important for many aspects of RNA metabolism. Abnormal accumulation of TDP-43 in the cytoplasm of affected neurons is a pathological hallmark of the neurodegenerative diseases frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Several transgenic mouse models have been generated that recapitulate defects in TDP-43 accumulation, thus causing neurodegeneration and behavioural impairments. While aging is the key risk factor for neurodegenerative diseases, the specific effect of aging on phenotypes in TDP-43 transgenic mice has not been investigated. Here, we analyse age-dependent changes in TDP-43 transgenic mice that displayed impaired memory. We found the accumulation of abundant poly-ubiquitinated protein aggregates in the hippocampus of aged TDP-43 transgenic mice. Intriguingly, the aggregates contained some interneuron-specific proteins such as parvalbumin and calretinin, suggesting that GABAergic interneurons were degenerated in these mice. The abundance of aggregates significantly increased with age and with the overexpression of TDP-43. Gene array analyses in the hippocampus and other brain areas revealed dysregulation in genes linked to oxidative stress and neuronal function in TDP-43 transgenic mice. Our results indicate that the interneuron degeneration occurs upon aging, and TDP-43 accelerates age-dependent neuronal degeneration, which may be related to the impaired memory of TDP-43 transgenic mice.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder, characterized by cytoplasmic inclusions of RNA-binding protein TDP-43. Despite decades of research and identification of more than 50 genes associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the cause of TDP-43 translocation from the nucleus and its aggregation in the cytoplasm still remains unknown. Our study addressed the impact of selected ALS-associated genes on TDP-43 aggregation behavior in wild-type and aggregation prone TDP-43 in vitro cell models. These were developed by deleting TDP-43 nuclear localization signal and stepwise shortening its low-complexity region. The SH-SY5Y cells were co-transfected with the constructs of aggregation-prone TDP-43 and wild-type or mutant ALS-associated genes hnRNPA1, MATR3, VCP or UBQLN2. The investigated genes displayed a unique impact on TDP-43 aggregation, generating distinct types of cytoplasmic inclusions, similar to those already described as resembling prion strains, which could represent the basis for neurodegenerative disease heterogeneity.
Project description:Tar DNA binding protein 43 (TDP-43) is the major component of pathological deposits in frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 inclusions (FTLD-TDP) and in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). It has been reported that TDP-43 transgenic mouse models expressing human TDP-43 wild-type or ALS-associated mutations recapitulate certain ALS and FTLD pathological phenotypes. Of note, expression of human TDP-43 (hTDP-43) reduces the levels of mouse Tdp-43 (mTdp-43). However, it remained unclear whether the mechanisms through which TDP-43 induces ALS or FTLD-like pathologies resulted from a reduction in mTdp-43, an increase in hTDP-43, or a combination of both. In elucidating the role of mTdp-43 and hTDP-43 in hTDP-43 transgenic mice, we observed that reduction of mTdp-43 in non-transgenic mice by intraventricular brain injection of AAV1-shTardbp leads to a dramatic increase in the levels of splicing variants of mouse sortilin 1 and translin. However, the levels of these two abnormal splicing variants are not increased in hTDP-43 transgenic mice despite significant downregulation of mTdp-43 in these mice. Moreover, further downregulation of mTdp-43 in hTDP-43 hemizygous mice, which are asymptomatic, to the levels equivalent to that of mTdp-43 in hTDP-43 homozygous mice does not induce the pathological phenotypes observed in the homozygous mice. Lastly, the number of dendritic spines and the RNA levels of TDP-43 RNA targets critical for synapse formation and function are significantly decreased in symptomatic homozygous mice. Together, our findings indicate that mTdp-43 downregulation does not lead to a loss of function mechanism or account for the pathological phenotypes observed in hTDP-43 homozygous mice because hTDP-43 compensates for the reduction, and associated functions of mTdp-43. Rather, expression of hTDP-43 beyond a certain threshold leads to abnormal metabolism of TDP-43 RNA targets critical for neuronal structure and function, which might be responsible for the ALS or FTLD-like pathologies observed in homozygous hTDP-43 transgenic mice.