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Concept: Frontotemporal dementia

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Elevated expression of specific transposable elements (TEs) has been observed in several neurodegenerative disorders. TEs also can be active during normal neurogenesis. By mining a series of deep sequencing datasets of protein-RNA interactions and of gene expression profiles, we uncovered extensive binding of TE transcripts to TDP-43, an RNA-binding protein central to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). Second, we find that association between TDP-43 and many of its TE targets is reduced in FTLD patients. Third, we discovered that a large fraction of the TEs to which TDP-43 binds become de-repressed in mouse TDP-43 disease models. We propose the hypothesis that TE mis-regulation contributes to TDP-43 related neurodegenerative diseases.

Concepts: Gene, Evolution, Molecular biology, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Neurodegenerative disorders, Frontotemporal dementia, Frontotemporal lobar degeneration

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A GGGGCC hexanucleotide repeat expansion in the C9orf72 gene is the most common genetic cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia (C9ALS/FTD). C9orf72 encodes two C9orf72 protein isoforms of unclear function. Reduced levels of C9orf72 expression have been reported in C9ALS/FTD patients, and although C9orf72 haploinsufficiency has been proposed to contribute to C9ALS/FTD, its significance is not yet clear. Here, we report that C9orf72 interacts with Rab1a and the Unc-51-like kinase 1 (ULK1) autophagy initiation complex. As a Rab1a effector, C9orf72 controls initiation of autophagy by regulating the Rab1a-dependent trafficking of the ULK1 autophagy initiation complex to the phagophore. Accordingly, reduction of C9orf72 expression in cell lines and primary neurons attenuated autophagy and caused accumulation of p62-positive puncta reminiscent of the p62 pathology observed in C9ALS/FTD patients. Finally, basal levels of autophagy were markedly reduced in C9ALS/FTD patient-derived iNeurons. Thus, our data identify C9orf72 as a novel Rab1a effector in the regulation of autophagy and indicate that C9orf72 haploinsufficiency and associated reductions in autophagy might be the underlying cause of C9ALS/FTD-associated p62 pathology.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Cell, Molecular biology, Enzyme, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Regulation, Frontotemporal dementia

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Over 30% of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) exhibit cognitive deficits indicative of frontotemporal dementia (FTD), suggesting a common pathogenesis for both diseases. Consistent with this hypothesis, neuronal and glial inclusions rich in TDP43, an essential RNA-binding protein, are found in the majority of those with ALS and FTD, and mutations in TDP43 and a related RNA-binding protein, FUS, cause familial ALS and FTD. TDP43 and FUS affect the splicing of thousands of transcripts, in some cases triggering nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD), a highly conserved RNA degradation pathway. Here, we take advantage of a faithful primary neuronal model of ALS and FTD to investigate and characterize the role of human up-frameshift protein 1 (hUPF1), an RNA helicase and master regulator of NMD, in these disorders. We show that hUPF1 significantly protects mammalian neurons from both TDP43- and FUS-related toxicity. Expression of hUPF2, another essential component of NMD, also improves survival, whereas inhibiting NMD prevents rescue by hUPF1, suggesting that hUPF1 acts through NMD to enhance survival. These studies emphasize the importance of RNA metabolism in ALS and FTD, and identify a uniquely effective therapeutic strategy for these disorders.

Concepts: DNA, Transcription, RNA, Messenger RNA, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Frontotemporal dementia, Frontotemporal lobar degeneration, FUS

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Frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin-positive inclusions (FTLD-U) is one of the most common pathological findings associated with the clinical FTLD syndromes. However, molecular characterization with genetic sequencing and protein expression techniques are recognizing many new subtypes for FTLDs. FTLDs are diverse and new nomenclature schemes have been proposed based on the molecular defects that are being discovered ( Mackenzie et al., 2010 , Acta Neuropathologica, 119, 1). Adult polyglucosan body disease (APBD) is a very rare disorder associated with systemic neurological signs and symptoms including progressive dementia with executive dysfunction and motor neuron disease. We report the clinical course of an individual with a clinical FTLD and the as yet unreported findings of coexistent APBD with FTLD-U and transactivation response DNA-binding protein-43 (TDP-43)-positive inclusions at autopsy (or more accurately, FTLD-TDP). It is unclear if these distinct findings are coincidental in this individual, or if pathogenic pathways may intersect to promote these coexisting pathologies.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Pathology, Anatomical pathology, Symptom, Dementia, Frontotemporal dementia, Motor neuron, Frontotemporal lobar degeneration

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Neuronal inclusions of poly(GA), a protein unconventionally translated from G4C2 repeat expansions in C9ORF72, are abundant in patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) caused by this mutation. To investigate poly(GA) toxicity, we generated mice that exhibit poly(GA) pathology, neurodegeneration and behavioral abnormalities reminiscent of FTD and ALS. These phenotypes occurred in the absence of TDP-43 pathology and required poly(GA) aggregation. HR23 proteins involved in proteasomal degradation and proteins involved in nucleocytoplasmic transport were sequestered by poly(GA) in these mice. HR23A and HR23B similarly colocalized to poly(GA) inclusions in C9ORF72 expansion carriers. Sequestration was accompanied by an accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins and decreased xeroderma pigmentosum C (XPC) levels in mice, indicative of HR23A and HR23B dysfunction. Restoring HR23B levels attenuated poly(GA) aggregation and rescued poly(GA)-induced toxicity in neuronal cultures. These data demonstrate that sequestration and impairment of nuclear HR23 and nucleocytoplasmic transport proteins is an outcome of, and a contributor to, poly(GA) pathology.

Concepts: Gene, DNA repair, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Frontotemporal dementia, Lou Gehrig, Xeroderma pigmentosum, Sequestration, Sequestering

25

The terms frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) indicate a large set of neurodegenerative diseases, heterogeneous in their genetic, pathologic and clinical aspects.

Concepts: Neuroscience, Neurodegeneration, Neurodegenerative disorders, Frontotemporal dementia, Frontotemporal lobar degeneration, Neurodegenerative diseases

23

TDP-43 pathology marks a spectrum of multisystem proteinopathies including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, frontotemporal lobar degeneration, and sporadic inclusion body myositis. Surprisingly, it has been challenging to recapitulate this pathology, highlighting an incomplete understanding of TDP-43 regulatory mechanisms. Here we provide evidence supporting TDP-43 acetylation as a trigger for disease pathology. Using cultured cells and mouse skeletal muscle, we show that TDP-43 acetylation-mimics promote TDP-43 phosphorylation and ubiquitination, perturb mitochondria, and initiate degenerative inflammatory responses that resemble sporadic inclusion body myositis pathology. Analysis of functionally linked amyotrophic lateral sclerosis proteins revealed recruitment of p62, ubiquilin-2, and optineurin to TDP-43 aggregates. We demonstrate that TDP-43 acetylation-mimic pathology is potently suppressed by an HSF1-dependent mechanism that disaggregates TDP-43. Our study illustrates bidirectional TDP-43 processing in which TDP-43 aggregation is targeted by a coordinated chaperone response. Thus, activation or restoration of refolding mechanisms may alleviate TDP-43 aggregation in tissues that are uniquely susceptible to TDP-43 proteinopathies.TDP-43 aggregation is linked to various diseases including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Here the authors show that acetylation of the protein triggers TDP-43 pathology in cultured cells and mouse skeletal muscle, which can be cleared through an HSF1-dependent chaperone mechanism that disaggregates the protein.

Concepts: Inflammation, Proteins, Protein, Protein folding, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Frontotemporal dementia, Frontotemporal lobar degeneration, Inclusion body myositis

22

Hexanucleotide repeat expansions in C9orf72 are the most common cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal degeneration (FTD) (c9ALS/FTD). Unconventional translation of these repeats produces dipeptide repeat proteins (DPRs) that may cause neurodegeneration. We performed a modifier screen in Drosophila and discovered a critical role for importins and exportins, Ran-GTP cycle regulators, nuclear pore components, and arginine methylases in mediating DPR toxicity. These findings provide evidence for an important role for nucleocytoplasmic transport in the pathogenic mechanism of c9ALS/FTD.

Concepts: Cell nucleus, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Frontotemporal dementia, Lou Gehrig

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Repeat-associated non-AUG (RAN) translation allows for unconventional initiation at disease-causing repeat expansions. As RAN translation contributes to pathogenesis in multiple neurodegenerative disorders, determining its mechanistic underpinnings may inform therapeutic development. Here we analyze RAN translation at G4C2 repeat expansions that cause C9orf72-associated amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia (C9RAN) and at CGG repeats that cause fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome. We find that C9RAN translation initiates through a cap- and eIF4A-dependent mechanism that utilizes a CUG start codon. C9RAN and CGG RAN are both selectively enhanced by integrated stress response (ISR) activation. ISR-enhanced RAN translation requires an eIF2α phosphorylation-dependent alteration in start codon fidelity. In parallel, both CGG and G4C2 repeats trigger phosphorylated-eIF2α-dependent stress granule formation and global translational suppression. These findings support a model whereby repeat expansions elicit cellular stress conditions that favor RAN translation of toxic proteins, creating a potential feed-forward loop that contributes to neurodegeneration.

Concepts: Neurology, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Neurodegeneration, Neurodegenerative disorders, Genetic code, Metaphysics, Frontotemporal dementia, Neurodegenerative diseases

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To estimate the lifetime risk, prevalence, incidence, and mortality of the principal clinical syndromes associated with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) using revised diagnostic criteria and including intermediate clinical phenotypes.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Diagnosis, Medical statistics, Frontotemporal dementia, Frontotemporal lobar degeneration