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We describe an autosomal dominant, multi-generational, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) pedigree in which disease co-segregates with a heterozygous p.Y374X nonsense mutation within TDP-43. Mislocalization of TDP-43 and formation of insoluble TDP-43-positive neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions is the hallmark pathology in >95% of ALS patients. Neuropathological examination of the single case for which CNS tissue was available indicated typical TDP-43 pathology within lower motor neurons, but classical TDP-43-positive inclusions were absent from motor cortex. The mutated allele is transcribed and translated in patient fibroblasts and motor cortex tissue, but overall TDP-43 protein expression is reduced compared to wild-type controls. Despite absence of TDP-43-positive inclusions we confirmed deficient TDP-43 splicing function within motor cortex tissue. Furthermore, urea fractionation and mass spectrometry of motor cortex tissue carrying the mutation revealed atypical TDP-43 protein species but not typical C-terminal fragments. We conclude that the p.Y374X mutation underpins a monogenic, fully penetrant form of ALS. Reduced expression of TDP-43 combined with atypical TDP-43 protein species and absent C-terminal fragments extends the molecular phenotypes associated with TDP-43 mutations and with ALS more broadly. Future work will need to include the findings from this pedigree in dissecting the mechanisms of TDP-43-mediated toxicity.

Original publication




Journal article


Brain Pathology

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