TDP-43 proteinopathy is the major pathology in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and tau-negative frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Mounting evidence implicates loss of normal TDP-43 RNA-processing function as a key pathomechanism. However, the RNA targets of TDP-43 differ by report, and have never been formally collated or compared between models and disease, hampering understanding of TDP-43 function. Here, we conducted re-analysis and meta-analysis of publicly available RNA-sequencing datasets from six TDP-43-knockdown models, and TDP-43-immunonegative neuronal nuclei from ALS/FTD brain, to identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and differential exon usage (DEU) events. There was little overlap in DEGs between knockdown models, but PFKP, STMN2, CFP, KIAA1324 and TRHDE were common targets and were also differentially expressed in TDP-43-immunonegative neurons. DEG enrichment analysis revealed diverse biological pathways including immune and synaptic functions. Common DEU events in human datasets included well-known targets POLDIP3 and STMN2, and novel targets EXD3, MMAB, DLG5 and GOSR2. Our interactive database (https://www.scotterlab.auckland.ac.nz/research-themes/tdp43-lof-db/) allows further exploration of TDP-43 DEG and DEU targets. Together, these data identify TDP-43 targets that can be exploited therapeutically or used to validate loss-of-function processes. This article has an associated First Person interview with the first author of the paper.
Keywords: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Differentially expressed genes; Exon usage; Frontotemporal dementia; Loss of function; RNA-seq; TDP-43.
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