Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Mol Brain. 2009 Sep 25;2:30. doi: 10.1186/1756-6606-2-30.

Frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-associated disease protein TDP-43 promotes dendritic branching.

Author information

  • 1Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease, and Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA.



TDP-43 is an evolutionarily conserved RNA-binding protein implicated in the pathogenesis of frontotemporal dementia (FTD), sporadic and familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and possibly other neurodegenerative diseases. In diseased neurons, TDP-43 is depleted in the nucleus, suggesting a loss-of-function pathogenic mechanism. However, the normal function of TDP-43 in postmitotic neurons is largely unknown.


Here we demonstrate that overexpression of Drosophila TDP-43 (dTDP-43) in vivo significantly increases dendritic branching of sensory neurons in Drosophila larvae. Loss of dTDP-43 function, either in a genetic null mutant or through RNAi knockdown, decreased dendritic branching. Further genetic analysis demonstrated a cell-autonomous role for dTDP-43 in dendrite formation. Moreover, human TDP-43 (hTDP-43) promoted dendritic branching in Drosophila neurons, and this function was attenuated by mutations associated with ALS.


These findings reveal an essential role for TDP-43 in dendritic structural integrity, supporting the notion that loss of normal TDP-43 function in diseased neurons may compromise neuronal connectivity before neuronal cell loss in FTD and ALS.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk