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J Neurochem. 2009 Nov;111(4):1051-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2009.06383.x. Epub 2009 Sep 16.

TDP-43 is recruited to stress granules in conditions of oxidative insult.

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Department of Neurology and Laboratory of Neuroscience, Dino Ferrari Center, Università degli Studi di Milano - IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milan, Italy.


Transactive response DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) forms abnormal ubiquitinated and phosphorylated inclusions in brain tissues from patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. TDP-43 is a DNA/RNA-binding protein involved in RNA processing, such as transcription, pre-mRNA splicing, mRNA stabilization and transport to dendrites. We found that in response to oxidative stress and to environmental insults of different types TDP-43 is capable to assemble into stress granules (SGs), ribonucleoprotein complexes where protein synthesis is temporarily arrested. We demonstrated that a specific aminoacidic interval (216-315) in the C-terminal region and the RNA-recognition motif 1 domain are both implicated in TDP-43 participation in SGs as their deletion prevented the recruitment of TDP-43 into SGs. Our data show that TDP-43 is a specific component of SGs and not of processing bodies, although we proved that TDP-43 is not necessary for SG formation, and its gene silencing does not impair cell survival during stress. The analysis of spinal cord tissue from ALS patients showed that SG markers are not entrapped in TDP-43 pathological inclusions. Although SGs were not evident in ALS brains, we speculate that an altered control of mRNA translation in stressful conditions may trigger motor neuron degeneration at early stages of the disease.

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