Why TDP-43? Why Not? Mechanisms of Metabolic Dysfunction in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Neurosci Insights. 2020 Sep 17;15:2633105520957302. doi: 10.1177/2633105520957302. eCollection 2020.


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rapidly progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disorder for which there is no effective curative treatment available and minimal palliative care. Mutations in the gene encoding the TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) are a well-recognized genetic cause of ALS, and an imbalance in energy homeostasis correlates closely to disease susceptibility and progression. Considering previous research supporting a plethora of downstream cellular impairments originating in the histopathological signature of TDP-43, and the solid evidence around metabolic dysfunction in ALS, a causal association between TDP-43 pathology and metabolic dysfunction cannot be ruled out. Here we discuss how TDP-43 contributes on a molecular level to these impairments in energy homeostasis, and whether the protein's pathological effects on cellular metabolism differ from those of other genetic risk factors associated with ALS such as superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1), chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9orf72) and fused in sarcoma (FUS).

Keywords: ALS; C9orf72; FUS; SOD1; TDP-43; fatty acids oxidation; glycolysis; metabolic defects; metabolism; mitochondria.

Publication types

  • Review