An ALS-mutant TDP-43 neurotoxic peptide adopts an anti-parallel β-structure and induces TDP-43 redistribution

Li Zhu, Meng Xu, Mengxue Yang, Yanlian Yang, Yang Li, Jianwen Deng, Linhao Ruan, Jianghong Liu, Sidan Du, Xuehui Liu, Wei Feng, Kazuo Fushimi, Eileen H Bigio, Marek-Marsel Mesulam, Chen Wang, Jane Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


TDP-43 proteinopathies are clinically and genetically heterogeneous diseases that had been considered distinct from classical amyloid diseases. Here, we provide evidence for the structural similarity between TDP-43 peptides and other amyloid proteins. Atomic force microscopy and electron microscopy examination of peptides spanning a previously defined amyloidogenic fragment revealed a minimal core region that forms amyloid fibrils similar to the TDP-43 fibrils detected in FTLD-TDP brain tissues. An ALS-mutant A315E amyloidogenic TDP-43 peptide is capable of cross-seeding other TDP-43 peptides and an amyloid-β peptide. Sequential Nuclear Overhauser Effects and double-quantum-filtered correlation spectroscopy in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analyses of the A315E-mutant TDP-43 peptide indicate that it adopts an anti-parallel β conformation. When added to cell cultures, the amyloidogenic TDP-43 peptides induce TDP-43 redistribution from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. Neuronal cultures in compartmentalized microfluidic-chambers demonstrate that the TDP-43 peptides can be taken up by axons and induce axonotoxicity and neuronal death, thus recapitulating key neuropathological features of TDP-43 proteinopathies. Importantly, a single amino acid change in the amyloidogenic TDP-43 peptide that disrupts fibril formation also eliminates neurotoxicity, supporting that amyloidogenesis is critical for TDP-43 neurotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6863-6877
Number of pages15
JournalHuman molecular genetics
Issue number25
StatePublished - Dec 20 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology


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