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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

TDP-43 expression in mouse models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and spinal muscular atrophy

Bradley J Turner1, Dirk Bäumer1, Nicholas J Parkinson1, Jakub Scaber2, Olaf Ansorge2* and Kevin Talbot13*

Author Affiliations

1 University of Oxford, MRC Functional Genetics Unit, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3QX, UK

2 Department of Neuropathology, John Radcliffe Hospital, Headley Way, Oxford, OX3 9DU, UK

3 Department of Clinical Neurology, John Radcliffe Hospital, Headley Way, Oxford, OX3 9DU, UK

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BMC Neuroscience 2008, 9:104  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-9-104

Published: 28 October 2008

Abstract

Background

Redistribution of nuclear TAR DNA binding protein 43 (TDP-43) to the cytoplasm and ubiquitinated inclusions of spinal motor neurons and glial cells is characteristic of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) pathology. Recent evidence suggests that TDP-43 pathology is common to sporadic ALS and familial ALS without SOD1 mutation, but not SOD1-related fALS cases. Furthermore, it remains unclear whether TDP-43 abnormalities occur in non-ALS forms of motor neuron disease. Here, we characterise TDP-43 localisation, expression levels and post-translational modifications in mouse models of ALS and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

Results

TDP-43 mislocalisation to ubiquitinated inclusions or cytoplasm was notably lacking in anterior horn cells from transgenic mutant SOD1G93A mice. In addition, abnormally phosphorylated or truncated TDP-43 species were not detected in fractionated ALS mouse spinal cord or brain. Despite partial colocalisation of TDP-43 with SMN, depletion of SMN- and coilin-positive Cajal bodies in motor neurons of affected SMA mice did not alter nuclear TDP-43 distribution, expression or biochemistry in spinal cords.

Conclusion

These results emphasise that TDP-43 pathology characteristic of human sporadic ALS is not a core component of the neurodegenerative mechanisms caused by SOD1 mutation or SMN deficiency in mouse models of ALS and SMA, respectively.