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Loss and gain of Drosophila TDP-43 impair synaptic efficacy and motor control leading to age-related neurodegeneration by loss-of-function phenotypes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Danielle Diaper, Yoshitsugu Adachi, Ben Sutcliffe, Dickon M Humphrey, Christopher J H Elliott, Alan Stepto, Zoe N Ludlow, Lies Vanden Broeck, Patrick Callaerts, Bart Dermaut, Ammar Al-Chalabi, Christopher E Shaw, Iain M Robinson, Frank Hirth

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1539-1557
Number of pages19
JournalHuman Molecular Genetics
Volume22
Issue number8
DOIs
Published15 Apr 2013

King's Authors

Abstract

Cytoplasmic accumulation and nuclear clearance of TDP-43 characterize familial and sporadic forms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal lobar degeneration, suggesting that either loss or gain of TDP-43 function, or both, cause disease formation. Here we have systematically compared loss- and gain-of-function of Drosophila TDP-43, TAR DNA Binding Protein Homolog (TBPH), in synaptic function and morphology, motor control, and age-related neuronal survival. Both loss and gain of TBPH severely affect development and result in premature lethality. TBPH dysfunction caused impaired synaptic transmission at the larval neuromuscular junction (NMJ) and in the adult. Tissue-specific knockdown together with electrophysiological recordings at the larval NMJ also revealed that alterations of TBPH function predominantly affect pre-synaptic efficacy, suggesting that impaired pre-synaptic transmission is one of the earliest events in TDP-43-related pathogenesis. Prolonged loss and gain of TBPH in adults resulted in synaptic defects and age-related, progressive degeneration of neurons involved in motor control. Toxic gain of TBPH did not downregulate or mislocalize its own expression, indicating that a dominant-negative effect leads to progressive neurodegeneration also seen with mutational inactivation of TBPH. Together these data suggest that dysfunction of Drosophila TDP-43 triggers a cascade of events leading to loss-of-function phenotypes whereby impaired synaptic transmission results in defective motor behavior and progressive deconstruction of neuronal connections, ultimately causing age-related neurodegeneration.

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