Axonal TDP-43 condensates drive neuromuscular junction disruption through inhibition of local synthesis of nuclear encoded mitochondrial proteins

Topaz Altman, Ariel Ionescu, Amjad Ibraheem, Dominik Priesmann, Tal Gradus-Pery, Luba Farberov, Gayster Alexandra, Natalia Shelestovich, Ruxandra Dafinca, Noam Shomron, Florence Rage, Kevin Talbot, Michael E. Ward, Amir Dori, Marcus Krüger, Eran Perlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Mislocalization of the predominantly nuclear RNA/DNA binding protein, TDP-43, occurs in motor neurons of ~95% of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients, but the contribution of axonal TDP-43 to this neurodegenerative disease is unclear. Here, we show TDP-43 accumulation in intra-muscular nerves from ALS patients and in axons of human iPSC-derived motor neurons of ALS patient, as well as in motor neurons and neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) of a TDP-43 mislocalization mouse model. In axons, TDP-43 is hyper-phosphorylated and promotes G3BP1-positive ribonucleoprotein (RNP) condensate assembly, consequently inhibiting local protein synthesis in distal axons and NMJs. Specifically, the axonal and synaptic levels of nuclear-encoded mitochondrial proteins are reduced. Clearance of axonal TDP-43 or dissociation of G3BP1 condensates restored local translation and resolved TDP-43-derived toxicity in both axons and NMJs. These findings support an axonal gain of function of TDP-43 in ALS, which can be targeted for therapeutic development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6914
JournalNature Communications
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

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