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PLoS One. 2012;7(6):e38658. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0038658. Epub 2012 Jun 21.

Coaggregation of RNA-binding proteins in a model of TDP-43 proteinopathy with selective RGG motif methylation and a role for RRM1 ubiquitination.

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  • 1Department of Human Genetics, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America.


TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) is a major component within ubiquitin-positive inclusions of a number of neurodegenerative diseases that increasingly are considered as TDP-43 proteinopathies. Identities of other inclusion proteins associated with TDP-43 aggregation remain poorly defined. In this study, we identify and quantitate 35 co-aggregating proteins in the detergent-resistant fraction of HEK-293 cells in which TDP-43 or a particularly aggregate prone variant, TDP-S6, were enriched following overexpression, using stable isotope-labeled (SILAC) internal standards and liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). We also searched for differential post-translational modification (PTM) sites of ubiquitination. Four sites of ubiquitin conjugation to TDP-43 or TDP-S6 were confirmed by dialkylated GST-TDP-43 external reference peptides, occurring on or near RNA binding motif (RRM) 1. RRM-containing proteins co-enriched in cytoplasmic granular structures in HEK-293 cells and primary motor neurons with insoluble TDP-S6, including cytoplasmic stress granule associated proteins G3BP, PABPC1, and eIF4A1. Proteomic evidence for TDP-43 co-aggregation with paraspeckle markers RBM14, PSF and NonO was also validated by western blot and by immunocytochemistry in HEK-293 cells. An increase in peptides from methylated arginine-glycine-glycine (RGG) RNA-binding motifs of FUS/TLS and hnRNPs was found in the detergent-insoluble fraction of TDP-overexpressing cells. Finally, TDP-43 and TDP-S6 detergent-insoluble species were reduced by mutagenesis of the identified ubiquitination sites, even following oxidative or proteolytic stress. Together, these findings define some of the aggregation partners of TDP-43, and suggest that TDP-43 ubiquitination influences TDP-43 oligomerization.

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