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PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e35818. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0035818. Epub 2012 Apr 26.

TDP-43 identified from a genome wide RNAi screen for SOD1 regulators.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, United States of America.


Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a late-onset, progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting motor neurons in the brain stem and spinal cord leading to loss of voluntary muscular function and ultimately, death due to respiratory failure. A subset of ALS cases are familial and associated with mutations in superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) that destabilize the protein and predispose it to aggregation. In spite of the fact that sporadic and familial forms of ALS share many common patho-physiological features, the mechanistic relationship between SOD1-associated and sporadic forms of the disease if any, is not well understood. To better understand any molecular connections, a cell-based protein folding assay was employed to screen a whole genome RNAi library for genes that regulate levels of soluble SOD1. Statistically significant hits that modulate SOD1 levels, when analyzed by pathway analysis revealed a highly ranked network containing TAR DNA binging protein (TDP-43), a major component of aggregates characteristic of sporadic ALS. Biochemical experiments confirmed the action of TDP-43 on SOD1. These results highlight an unexpected relationship between TDP-43 and SOD1 which may have implications in disease pathogenesis.

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