TDP-43 causes neurotoxicity and cytoskeletal dysfunction in primary cortical neurons

Pranetha Baskaran, Christopher Shaw, Sarah Guthrie*

*Corresponding author for this work

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20 Citations (Scopus)
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TDP-43-mediated proteinopathy is a key factor in the pathology of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). A potential underlying mechanism is dysregulation of the cytoskeleton. Here we investigate the effects of expressing TDP-43 wild-type and M337V and Q331K mutant isoforms on cytoskeletal integrity and function, using rat cortical neurons in vitro. We find that TDP-43 protein becomes mislocalised in axons over 24–72 hours in culture, with protein aggregation occurring at later timepoints (144 hours). Quantitation of cell viability showed toxicity of both wild-type and mutant constructs which increased over time, especially of the Q331K mutant isoform. Analysis of the effects of TDP-43 on axonal integrity showed that TDP-43-transfected neurons had shorter axons than control cells, and that growth cone sizes were smaller. Axonal transport dynamics were also impaired by transfection with TDP-43 constructs. Taken together these data show that TDP-43 mislocalisation into axons precedes cell death in cortical neurons, and that cytoskeletal structure and function is impaired by expression of either TDP-43 wild-type or mutant constructs in vitro. These data suggest that dysregulation of cytoskeletal and neuronal integrity is an important mechanism for TDP-43-mediated proteinopathy.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0196528
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018


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