Molecular Dissection of TDP-43 Proteinopathies
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TDP-43 has been identified as a major component of ubiquitin-positive tau-negative cytoplasmic inclusions in frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin-positive inclusions (FTLD-U) and in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We raised antibodies to phosphopeptides representing 36 out of 64 candidate phosphorylation sites of human TDP-43 and showed that the antibodies to pS379, pS403/404, pS409, pS410 and pS409/410 labeled the inclusions, but not the nuclei. Immunoblot analyses demonstrated that the antibodies recognized TDP-43 at ~45 kDa, smearing substances and 18–26 kDa C-terminal fragments. Furthermore, the band patterns of the C-terminal fragments differed between neuropathological subtypes, but were indistinguishable between brain regions and spinal cord in each individual patient. Protease treatment of Sarkosyl-insoluble TDP-43 suggests that the different band patterns of the C-terminal fragments reflect different conformations of abnormal TDP-43 molecules between the diseases. These results suggest that molecular species of abnormal TDP-43 are different between the diseases and that they propagate from affected cells to other cells during disease progression and determine the clinicopathological phenotypes of the diseases.