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Cell Rep. 2019 Apr 23;27(4):1133-1150.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2019.03.093.

An Intramolecular Salt Bridge Linking TDP43 RNA Binding, Protein Stability, and TDP43-Dependent Neurodegeneration.

Author information

1
Cellular and Molecular Biology Graduate Program, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, USA; Department of Neurology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, USA.
2
Department of Neurology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, USA.
3
Medical Scientist Training Program, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, USA; Neuroscience Graduate Program, Department of Pharmacology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, USA.
4
Neuroscience Graduate Program, Department of Pharmacology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, USA.
5
Cellular and Molecular Biology Graduate Program, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, USA; Department of Neurology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, USA; Neuroscience Graduate Program, Department of Pharmacology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, USA. Electronic address: sbarmada@umich.edu.

Abstract

The majority of individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) exhibit neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions rich in the RNA binding protein TDP43. Even so, the relation between the RNA binding properties of TDP43 and neurodegeneration remains obscure. Here, we show that engineered mutations disrupting a salt bridge between the RNA recognition motifs of TDP43 interfere with RNA binding and eliminate the recognition of native TDP43 substrates. The same mutations dramatically destabilize TDP43, alter its subcellular localization, and abrogate TDP43-dependent neurodegeneration. Worms harboring homologous TDP-1 mutations phenocopy knockout strains, confirming the necessity of salt bridge residues for TDP43 function. Moreover, the accumulation of functional TDP43, but not RNA binding-deficient variants, disproportionately affects transcripts encoding ribosome and oxidative phosphorylation components. These studies demonstrate the significance of the salt bridge in sustaining TDP43 stability and RNA binding properties, factors that are crucial for neurodegeneration arising from TDP43 deposition in ALS and FTD.

KEYWORDS:

RNA binding; TDP43; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; neurodegeneration

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