Increased cytoplasmic TDP-43 reduces global protein synthesis by interacting with Rack1 on polyribosomes

Arianna Russo, Raffaella Scardigli, Federico La Regina, Melissa E. Murray, Nicla Romano, Dennis W. Dickson, Benjamin Wolozin, Antonino Cattaneo, Marcello Ceci

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29 Scopus citations


TDP-43 is a well known RNA binding protein involved in the pathogenesis of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Frontotemporal Lobar Dementia (FTLD). In physiological conditions, TDP-43 mainly localizes in the nucleus and shuttles, at least in neurons, to the cytoplasm to form TDP-43 RNA granules. In the nucleus, TDP-43 participates to the expression and splicing of RNAs, while in the cytoplasm its functions range from transport to translation of specific mRNAs. However, if loss or gain of these TDP-43 functions are affected in ALS/FTLD pathogenesis is not clear. Here, we report that TDP-43 localizes on ribosomes not only in primary neurons but also in SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells. We find that binding of TDP-43 to the translational machinery is mediated by an interaction with a specific ribosomal protein, RACK1, and that an increase in cytoplasmic TDP-43 represses global protein synthesis, an effect which is rescued by overexpression of RACK1. Ribosomal loss of RACK1, which excludes TDP-43 from the translational machinery, remarkably reduces formation of TDP-43 cytoplasmic inclusions in neuroblastoma cells. Finally, we corroborate the interaction between TDP-43 and RACK1 on polyribosomes of neuroblastoma cells with mis-localization of RACK1 on TDP-43 positive cytoplasmic inclusions in motor neurons of ALS patients. In conclusions, results from this study suggest that TDP-43 represents a translational repressor not only for specific mRNAs but for overall translation and that its binding to polyribosomes through RACK1 may promote, under conditions inducing ALS pathogenesis, the formation of cytoplasmic inclusions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1407-1418
Number of pages12
JournalHuman molecular genetics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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