• Aberrant neural activity in prefrontal pyramidal neurons lacking TDP-43 precedes neuron loss.

      Liang, Bo; Thapa, Rashmi; Zhang, Gracie; Moffitt, Casey; Zhang, Yan; Zhang, Lifeng; Johnston, Amanda; Ruby, Hyrum P; Barbera, Giovanni; Wong, Philip C; et al. (Elsevier, 2022-06-04)
      Mislocalization of TAR DNA binding protein 43 kDa (TARDBP, or TDP-43) is a principal pathological hallmark identified in cases of neurodegenerative disorders such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). As an RNA binding protein, TDP-43 serves in the nuclear compartment to repress non-conserved cryptic exons to ensure the normal transcriptome. Multiple lines of evidence from animal models and human studies support the view that loss of TDP-43 leads to neuron loss, independent of its cytosolic aggregation. However, the underlying pathogenic pathways driven by the loss-of-function mechanism are still poorly defined. We employed a genetic approach to determine the impact of TDP-43 loss in pyramidal neurons of the prefrontal cortex (PFC). Using a custom-built miniscope imaging system, we performed repetitive in vivo calcium imaging from freely behaving mice for up to 7 months. By comparing calcium activity in PFC pyramidal neurons between TDP-43 depleted and TDP-43 intact mice, we demonstrated remarkably increased numbers of pyramidal neurons exhibiting hyperactive calcium activity after short-term TDP-43 depletion, followed by rapid activity declines prior to neuron loss. Our results suggest aberrant neural activity driven by loss of TDP-43 as the pathogenic pathway at early stage in ALS and FTD.