TDP-43 expression influences amyloidβ plaque deposition and tau aggregation

Neurobiol Dis. 2017 Jul:103:154-162. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2017.04.012. Epub 2017 Apr 20.


Although the main focus in Alzheimer's disease (AD) has been an investigation of mechanisms causing Aβ plaque deposition and tau tangle formation, recent studies have shown that phosphorylated TDP-43 pathology is present in up to 50% of sporadic cases. Furthermore, elevated phosphorylated TDP-43 has been associated with more severe AD pathology. Therefore, we hypothesized that TDP-43 may regulate amyloid-beta precursor protein (APP) trafficking and tau phosphorylation/aggregation. In order to examine the role of TDP-43 in AD, we developed a transgenic mouse that overexpresses hippocampal and cortical neuronal TDP-43 in a mouse expressing familial mutations (K595N and M596L) in APP and presenilin 1 (PSEN1ΔE9). In our model, increased TDP-43 was related to increased tau aggregation as evidenced by thioflavin S-positive phosphorylated tau, which may implicate TDP-43 expression in pre-tangle formation. In addition, there was increased endosomal/lysosomal localization of APP and reduced Aβ plaque formation with increased TDP-43. Furthermore, there was decreased calcineurin with elevated TDP-43 expression. Since calcineurin is a phosphatase for TDP-43, the decreased calcineurin expression may be one mechanism leading to an increase in accumulation of diffuse phosphorylated TDP-43 in the hippocampus and cortex. We further show that when TDP-43 is knocked down there is an increase in calcineurin. In our model of selective TDP-43 overexpression in an APP/PSEN1 background, we show that TDP-43 decreases Aβ plaque deposition while increasing abnormal tau aggregation. These observations indicate that TDP-43 may play a role in regulating APP trafficking and tau aggregation. Our data suggest that TDP-43 could be a putative target for therapeutic intervention in AD affecting both Aβ plaque formation and tauopathy.

Keywords: APP; APP/PS1; Alzheimer's disease; Calcineurin; TARDBP; TDP-43; Tau.

MeSH terms

  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / genetics
  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Plaque, Amyloid / genetics
  • Plaque, Amyloid / metabolism*
  • Plaque, Amyloid / pathology
  • Presenilin-1 / genetics
  • Protein Aggregation, Pathological / genetics
  • Protein Aggregation, Pathological / metabolism*
  • Protein Aggregation, Pathological / pathology
  • tau Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • tau Proteins / genetics


  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Presenilin-1
  • TARDBP protein, human
  • presenilin 1, mouse
  • tau Proteins