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EMBO J. 2011 Jan 19;30(2):277-88. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2010.310. Epub 2010 Dec 3.

TDP-43 regulates its mRNA levels through a negative feedback loop.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Pathology, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Trieste, Italy.


TAR DNA-binding protein (TDP-43) is an evolutionarily conserved heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) involved in RNA processing, whose abnormal cellular distribution and post-translational modification are key markers of certain neurodegenerative diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. We generated human cell lines expressing tagged forms of wild-type and mutant TDP-43 and observed that TDP-43 controls its own expression through a negative feedback loop. The RNA-binding properties of TDP-43 are essential for the autoregulatory activity through binding to 3' UTR sequences in its own mRNA. Our analysis indicated that the C-terminal region of TDP-43, which mediates TDP-43-hnRNP interactions, is also required for self-regulation. TDP-43 binding to its 3' UTR does not significantly change the pre-mRNA splicing pattern but promotes RNA instability. Moreover, blocking exosome-mediated degradation partially recovers TDP-43 levels. Our findings demonstrate that cellular TDP-43 levels are under tight control and it is likely that disease-associated TDP-43 aggregates disrupt TDP-43 self-regulation, thus contributing to pathogenesis.

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