Publications & Posters

C9ORF72 poly(GR) aggregation induces TDP-43 proteinopathy.


Cook CN, Wu Y, Odeh HM, Gendron TF, Jansen-West K, Del Rosso G, Yue M, Jiang P, Gomes E, Tong J, Daughrity LM, Avendano NM, Castanedes-Casey M, Shao W, Oskarsson B, Tomassy GS, McCampbell A, Rigo F, Dickson DW, Shorter J, Zhang YJ and Petrucelli L.

Sci Transl Med. 2020 Sep 2;12(559):eabb3774

DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abb3774


TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) inclusions are a pathological hallmark of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), including cases caused by G4C2 repeat expansions in the C9orf72 gene (c9FTD/ALS). Providing mechanistic insight into the link between C9orf72 mutations and TDP-43 pathology, we demonstrated that a glycine-arginine repeat protein [poly(GR)] translated from expanded G4C2 repeats was sufficient to promote aggregation of endogenous TDP-43. In particular, toxic poly(GR) proteins mediated sequestration of full-length TDP-43 in an RNA-independent manner to induce cytoplasmic TDP-43 inclusion formation. Moreover, in GFP-(GR)200 mice, poly(GR) caused the mislocalization of nucleocytoplasmic transport factors and nuclear pore complex proteins. These mislocalization events resulted in the aberrant accumulation of endogenous TDP-43 in the cytoplasm where it co-aggregated with poly(GR). Last, we demonstrated that treating G4C2 repeat-expressing mice with repeat-targeting antisense oligonucleotides lowered poly(GR) burden, which was accompanied by reduced TDP-43 pathology and neurodegeneration, including lowering of plasma neurofilament light (NFL) concentration. These results contribute to clarification of the mechanism by which poly(GR) drives TDP-43 proteinopathy, confirm that G4C2-targeted therapeutics reduce TDP-43 pathology in vivo, and demonstrate that alterations in plasma NFL provide insight into the therapeutic efficacy of disease-modifying treatments.