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Rapid in vitro quantification of TDP-43 and FUS mislocalisation for screening of gene variants implicated in frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis


Identified genetic mutations cause 20% of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and 5-10% of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) cases: however, for the remainder of patients the origin of disease is uncertain. The overlap in genetic, clinical and pathological presentation of FTD and ALS suggests these two diseases are related. Post-mortem, ~ 95% of ALS and ~ 50% of FTD patients show redistribution of the nuclear protein TDP-43 to the cytoplasm within affected neurons, while ~ 5% ALS and ~ 10% FTD show mislocalisation of FUS protein. We exploited these neuropathological features to develop an unbiased method for the in vitro quantification of cytoplasmic TDP-43 and FUS. Utilising fluorescently-tagged cDNA constructs and immunocytochemistry, the fluorescence intensity of TDP-43 or FUS was measured in the nucleus and cytoplasm of cells, using the freely available software CellProfiler. Significant increases in the amount of cytoplasmic TDP-43 and FUS were detectable in cells expressing known FTD/ALS-causative TARDBP and FUS gene mutations. Pharmacological intervention with the apoptosis inducer staurosporine and mutation in a secondary gene (CYLD) also induced measurable cytoplasmic mislocalisation of endogenous FUS and TDP-43, respectively. These findings validate this methodology as a novel in vitro technique for the quantification of TDP-43 or FUS mislocalisation that can be used for initial prioritisation of predicted FTD/ALS-causative mutations.

Type Journal
ISBN 2045-2322 (Electronic) 2045-2322 (Linking)
Authors Oyston, L. J.; Ubiparipovic, S.; Fitzpatrick, L.; Hallupp, M.; Boccanfuso, L. M.; Kwok, J. B.; Dobson-Stone, C.
Publisher Name Scientific Reports
Published Date 2021-07-31
Published Volume 11
Published Issue 1
Published Pages 14881
Status Published in-print
DOI 10.1038/s41598-021-94225-1
URL link to publisher's version