Mechanisms of tdp-43 proteinopathy onset and propagation

Han Jou Chen*, Jacqueline C. Mitchell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


TDP-43 is an RNA-binding protein that has been robustly linked to the pathogenesis of a number of neurodegenerative disorders, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia. While mutations in the TARDBP gene that codes for the protein have been identified as causing disease in a small subset of patients, TDP-43 proteinopathy is present in the majority of cases regardless of mutation status. This raises key questions regarding the mechanisms by which TDP-43 proteinopathy arises and spreads throughout the central nervous system. Numerous studies have explored the role of a variety of cellular functions on the disease process, and nucleocytoplasmic transport, protein homeostasis, RNA interactions and cellular stress have all risen to the forefront as possible contributors to the initiation of TDP-43 pathogenesis. There is also a small but growing body of evidence suggesting that aggregation-prone TDP-43 can recruit physiological TDP-43, and be transmitted intercellularly, providing a mechanism whereby small-scale proteinopathy spreads from cell to cell, reflecting the spread of clinical symptoms observed in patients. This review will discuss the potential role of the aforementioned cellular functions in TDP-43 pathogenesis, and explore how aberrant pathology may spread, and result in a feed-forward cascade effect, leading to robust TDP-43 proteinopathy and disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6004
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • ALS
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Proteinopathy
  • TDP-43


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