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Common pathobiochemical hallmarks of progranulin-associated frontotemporal lobar degeneration and neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis

Acta Neuropathol. 2014 Mar 12. [Epub ahead of print]

Authors/Editors: Götzl JK, Mori K, Damme M, Fellerer K, Tahirovic S, Kleinberger G, Janssens J, van der Zee J, Lang CM, Kremmer E, Martin JJ, Engelborghs S, Kretzschmar HA, Arzberger T, Van Broeckhoven C, Haass C, Capell A.
Publication Date: 2014

2014_03_goetzl

Abstract

Heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in the progranulin (GRN) gene and the resulting reduction of GRN levels is a common genetic cause for frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) with accumulation of TAR DNA-binding protein (TDP)-43. Recently, it has been shown that a complete GRN deficiency due to a homozygous GRN loss-of-function mutation causes neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCL), a lysosomal storage disorder. These findings suggest that lysosomal dysfunction may also contribute to some extent to FTLD. Indeed, Grn(-/-) mice recapitulate not only pathobiochemical features of GRN-associated FTLD-TDP (FTLD-TDP/GRN), but also those which are characteristic for NCL and lysosomal impairment. In Grn(-/-) mice the lysosomal proteins cathepsin D (CTSD), LAMP (lysosomal-associated membrane protein) 1 and the NCL storage components saposin D and subunit c of mitochondrial ATP synthase (SCMAS) were all found to be elevated. Moreover, these mice display increased levels of transmembrane protein (TMEM) 106B, a lysosomal protein known as a risk factor for FTLD-TDP pathology. In line with a potential pathological overlap of FTLD and NCL, Ctsd(-/-) mice, a model for NCL, show elevated levels of the FTLD-associated proteins GRN and TMEM106B. In addition, pathologically phosphorylated TDP-43 occurs in Ctsd(-/-) mice to a similar extent as in Grn(-/-) mice. Consistent with these findings, some NCL patients accumulate pathologically phosphorylated TDP-43 within their brains. Based on these observations, we searched for pathological marker proteins, which are characteristic for NCL or lysosomal impairment in brains of FTLD-TDP/GRN patients. Strikingly, saposin D, SCMAS as well as the lysosomal proteins CTSD and LAMP1/2 are all elevated in patients with FTLD-TDP/GRN. Thus, our findings suggest that lysosomal storage disorders and GRN-associated FTLD may share common features.

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