TDP-43 repression of nonconserved cryptic exons is compromised in ALS-FTD

Jonathan P. Ling, Olga Pletnikova, Juan C. Troncoso, Philip C. Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Cytoplasmic aggregation of TDP-43, accompanied by its nuclear clearance, is a key common pathological hallmark of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia (ALS-FTD). However, a limited understanding of this RNA-binding protein (RBP) impedes the clarification of pathogenic mechanisms underlying TDP-43 proteinopathy. In contrast to RBPs that regulate splicing of conserved exons, we found that TDP-43 repressed the splicing of nonconserved cryptic exons, maintaining intron integrity. When TDP-43 was depleted from mouse embryonic stem cells, these cryptic exons were spliced into messenger RNAs, often disrupting their translation and promoting nonsense-mediated decay. Moreover, enforced repression of cryptic exons prevented cell death in TDP-43-deficient cells. Furthermore, repression of cryptic exons was impaired in ALS-FTD cases, suggesting that this splicing defect could potentially underlie TDP-43 proteinopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)650-655
Number of pages6
JournalScience
Volume349
Issue number6248
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 7 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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