Research Article

Effects of mutant TDP-43 on the Nrf2/ARE pathway and protein expression of MafK and JDP2 in NSC-34 cells.

Published: May 10, 2017
Genet. Mol. Res. 16(2): gmr16029638 DOI: 10.4238/gmr16029638


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease that affects motor neurons and lacks an effective treatment. The disease pathogenesis has not been clarified at present. Pathological transactive response DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) plays an important role in the pathogenesis of ALS. Nuclear translocation of nuclear factor erythroid 2 (NF-E2)-related factor 2 (Nrf2) is found in a mutant TDP-43 transgenic cell model, but its downstream antioxidant enzyme expression is decreased. To elucidate the specific mechanism of Nrf2/ARE (antioxidant responsive element) signaling dysfunction, we constructed an ALS cell model with human mutant TDP-43 using the NSC-34 cell line to evaluate the impact of the TDP-43 mutation on the Nrf2/ARE pathway. We found the nuclear translocation of Nrf2, but the expression of total Nrf2, cytoplasmic Nrf2, and downstream phase II detoxifying enzyme (NQO1) was decreased in NSC-34 cells transfected with the TDP-43-M337V plasmid. Besides, TDP-43-M337V plasmid-transfected NSC-34 cells were rounded with reduced neurites, shortened axons, increased levels of intracellular lipid peroxidation products, and decreased viability, which suggests that the TDP-43-M337V plasmid weakened the antioxidant capacity of NSC-34 cells and increased their susceptibility to oxidative damage. We further showed that expression of the MafK protein and the Jun dimerization protein 2 (JDP2) was reduced in TDP-43-M337V plasmid-transfected NSC-34 cells, which might cause accumulation of Nrf2 in nuclei but a decrease in NQO1 expression. Taken together, our results confirmed that TDP-43-M337V impaired the Nrf2/ARE pathway by reducing the expression of MafK and JDP2 proteins, and provided information for further research on the molecular mechanisms of TDP-43-M337V in ALS.