Background: Trans-activation response element (TAR) DNA binding protein of 43kDa (TDP-43) is causally related to the neurodegenerative diseases frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis being the hallmark protein in the disease-characteristic neuropathological lesions and via genetic linkage. Histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6) is an established target of the RNA-binding protein TDP-43. HDAC6 is an unusual cytosolic deacetylase enzyme, central for a variety of pivotal cellular functions including aggregating protein turnover, microtubular dynamics and filopodia formation. All these functions are important in the context of neurodegenerative proteinopathies involving TDP-43. We have previously shown in a human embryonic kidney cell line that TDP-43 knockdown significantly impairs the removal of a toxic, aggregating polyQ ataxin-3 fusion protein in an HDAC6-dependent manner. Here we investigated the influence of TDP-43 and its target HDAC6 on neurite outgrowth.
Results: Human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells with stably silenced TDP-43 showed a significant reduction of neurite outgrowth induced by retinoic acid and brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Re-transfection with TDP-43 as well as HDAC6 rescued retinoic acid-induced neurite outgrowth. In addition, we show that silencing of HDAC6 alone is sufficient to reduce neurite outgrowth of in vitro differentiated SH-SY5Y cells.
Conclusions: TDP-43 deficiency leads to impairment of neurite growth in an HDAC6-dependent manner, thereby contributing to neurodegenerative events in TDP-43 diseases.