Distinguishing post-translational modifications in dominantly inherited frontotemporal dementias: FTLD-TDP Type A (GRN) vs Type B (C9orf72)

Cracco, Laura, et al. “Distinguishing post‐translational modifications in dominantly inherited frontotemporal dementias: FTLD‐TDP Type A (GRN) vs Type B (C9orf72).” Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology (2022): e12836. https://doi.org/10.1111/nan.12836


Frontotemporal dementias are neuropathologically characterised by frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). Intraneuronal inclusions of transactive response DNA-binding protein 43 kDa (TDP-43) are the defining pathological hallmark of approximately half of the FTLD cases, being referred to as FTLD-TDP. The classification of FTLD-TDP into five subtypes (Type A to Type E) is based on pathologic phenotypes; however, the molecular determinants underpinning the phenotypic heterogeneity of FTLD-TDP are not well known. It is currently undetermined whether TDP-43 post-translational modifications (PTMs) may be related to the phenotypic diversity of the FTLDs. Thus, the investigation of FTLD-TDP Type A and Type B, associated with GRN and C9orf72 mutations, becomes essential.

Immunohistochemistry was used to identify and map the intraneuronal inclusions. Sarkosyl-insoluble TDP-43 was extracted from brains of GRN and C9orf72 mutation carriers post-mortem and studied by Western blot analysis, immuno-electron microscopy and mass spectrometry.

Filaments of TDP-43 were present in all FTLD-TDP preparations. PTM profiling identified multiple phosphorylated, N-terminal acetylated or otherwise modified residues, several of which have been identified for the first time as related to sarkosyl-insoluble TDP-43. Several PTMs were specific for either Type A or Type B, while others were identified in both types.

The current results provide evidence that the intraneuronal inclusions in the two genetic diseases contain TDP-43 filaments. The discovery of novel, potentially type-specific TDP-43 PTMs emphasises the need to determine the mechanisms leading to filament formation and PTMs, and the necessity of exploring the validity and occupancy of PTMs in a prognostic/diagnostic setting.