Multiple distinct pathways lead to hyperubiquitylated insoluble TDP-43 protein independent of its translocation into stress granules [Protein Synthesis and Degradation]

November 28th, 2019 by Friederike Hans, Hanna Glasebach, Philipp J. Kahle

Insoluble, hyperubiquitylated TAR DNA binding protein of 43 kDa (TDP-43) in the central nervous system characterizes frontotemporal dementia and ALS in many individuals with these neurodegenerative diseases. The causes for neuropathological TDP-43 aggregation are unknown, but it has been suggested that stress granule (SG) formation is important in this process. Indeed, in human embryonic kidney HEK293E cells, various SG forming conditions induced very strong TDP-43 ubiquitylation, insolubility and reduced splicing activity. Osmotic stress–induced SG formation and TDP-43 ubiquitylation occurred rapidly and coincided with colocalization of TDP-43 and SG markers. Washout experiments confirmed the rapid dissolution of SGs, accompanied by normalization of TDP-43 ubiquitylation and solubility. Surprisingly, interference with the SG process using a protein kinase R–like endoplasmic reticulum kinase inhibitor (GSK2606414) or the translation blocker emetine did not prevent TDP-43 ubiquitylation and insolubility. Thus, parallel pathways may lead to pathological TDP-43 modifications independent of SG formation. Using a panel of kinase inhibitors targeting signaling pathways of the osmotic shock inducer sorbitol, we could largely rule out the stress-activated and extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase modules and glycogen synthase kinase 3β. For arsenite but not for sorbitol, quenching oxidative stress with N-acetylcysteine did suppress both SG formation and TDP-43 ubiquitylation and insolubility. Thus, sodium arsenite appears to promote SG formation and TDP-43 modifications via oxidative stress, but sorbitol stimulates TDP-43 ubiquitylation and insolubility via novel pathway(s) independent of SG formation. In conclusion, pathological TDP-43 modifications can be mediated via multiple distinct pathways for which SGs are not essential.
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