Cytoplasmic TDP-43 mislocalization and aggregation is a pathological hallmark of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. TDP-43 is an RNA-binding protein (RBP) with a prion-like domain (PrLD) that promotes TDP-43 misfolding. PrLDs possess compositional similarity to canonical prion domains of various yeast proteins, including Sup35. Strikingly, disease-causing TDP-43 mutations reside almost exclusively in the PrLD and can enhance TDP-43 misfolding and toxicity. Another ∼70 human RBPs harbor PrLDs, including FUS, TAF15, EWSR1, hnRNPA1, and hnRNPA2, which have surfaced in the etiology of neurodegenerative diseases. Importantly, PrLDs enable RBP function and mediate phase transitions that partition functional ribonucleoprotein compartments. This PrLD activity, however, renders RBPs prone to populating deleterious oligomers or self-templating fibrils that might spread disease, and disease-linked PrLD mutations can exacerbate this risk. Several strategies have emerged to counter TDP-43 proteinopathies, including engineering enhanced protein disaggregases based on Hsp104.
Pubmed ID: 27920024 RIS Download
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