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PLoS One. 2013 Jun 28;8(6):e66966. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0066966. Print 2013.

RNP2 of RNA recognition motif 1 plays a central role in the aberrant modification of TDP-43.

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Department of Neurology, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya, Japan.


Phosphorylated and truncated TAR DNA-binding protein-43 (TDP-43) is a major component of ubiquitinated cytoplasmic inclusions in neuronal and glial cells of two TDP-43 proteinopathies, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Modifications of TDP-43 are thus considered to play an important role in the pathogenesis of TDP-43 proteinopathies. However, both the initial cause of these abnormal modifications and the TDP-43 region responsible for its aggregation remain uncertain. Here we report that the 32 kDa C-terminal fragment of TDP-43, which lacks the RNP2 motif of RNA binding motif 1 (RRM1), formed aggregates in cultured cells, and that similar phenotypes were obtained when the RNP2 motif was either deleted from or mutated in full-length TDP-43. These aggregations were ubiquitinated, phosphorylated and truncated, and sequestered the 25 kDa C-terminal TDP-43 fragment seen in the neurons of TDP-43 proteinopathy patients. In addition, incubation with RNase decreased the solubility of TDP-43 in cell lysates. These findings suggest that the RNP2 motif of RRM1 plays a substantial role in pathological TDP-43 modifications and that it is possible that disruption of RNA binding may underlie the process of TDP-43 aggregation.

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