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A model of human neural networks reveals NPTX2 pathology in ALS and FTLD


Abstract

Human cellular models of neurodegeneration require reproducibility and longevity, which is necessary for simulating age-dependent diseases. Such systems are particularly needed for TDP-43 proteinopathies$^{1}$, which involve human-specific mechanisms$^{2–5}$ that cannot be directly studied in animal models. Here, to explore the emergence and consequences of TDP-43 pathologies, we generated induced pluripotent stem cell-derived, colony morphology neural stem cells (iCoMoNSCs) via manual selection of neural precursors$^{6}$. Single-cell transcriptomics and comparison to independent neural stem cells$^{7}$ showed that iCoMoNSCs are uniquely homogenous and self-renewing. Differentiated iCoMoNSCs formed a self-organized multicellular system consisting of synaptically connected and electrophysiologically active neurons, which matured into long-lived functional networks (which we designate iNets). Neuronal and glial maturation in iNets was similar to that of cortical organoids$^{8}$. Overexpression of wild-type TDP-43 in a minority of neurons within iNets led to progressive fragmentation and aggregation of the protein, resulting in a partial loss of function and neurotoxicity. Single-cell transcriptomics revealed a novel set of misregulated RNA targets in TDP-43-overexpressing neurons and in patients with TDP-43 proteinopathies exhibiting a loss of nuclear TDP-43. The strongest misregulated target encoded the synaptic protein NPTX2, the levels of which are controlled by TDP-43 binding on its 3′ untranslated region. When NPTX2 was overexpressed in iNets, it exhibited neurotoxicity, whereas correcting NPTX2 misregulation partially rescued neurons from TDP-43-induced neurodegeneration. Notably, NPTX2 was consistently misaccumulated in neurons from patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 pathology. Our work directly links TDP-43 misregulation and NPTX2 accumulation, thereby revealing a TDP-43-dependent pathway of neurotoxicity.

Abstract

Human cellular models of neurodegeneration require reproducibility and longevity, which is necessary for simulating age-dependent diseases. Such systems are particularly needed for TDP-43 proteinopathies$^{1}$, which involve human-specific mechanisms$^{2–5}$ that cannot be directly studied in animal models. Here, to explore the emergence and consequences of TDP-43 pathologies, we generated induced pluripotent stem cell-derived, colony morphology neural stem cells (iCoMoNSCs) via manual selection of neural precursors$^{6}$. Single-cell transcriptomics and comparison to independent neural stem cells$^{7}$ showed that iCoMoNSCs are uniquely homogenous and self-renewing. Differentiated iCoMoNSCs formed a self-organized multicellular system consisting of synaptically connected and electrophysiologically active neurons, which matured into long-lived functional networks (which we designate iNets). Neuronal and glial maturation in iNets was similar to that of cortical organoids$^{8}$. Overexpression of wild-type TDP-43 in a minority of neurons within iNets led to progressive fragmentation and aggregation of the protein, resulting in a partial loss of function and neurotoxicity. Single-cell transcriptomics revealed a novel set of misregulated RNA targets in TDP-43-overexpressing neurons and in patients with TDP-43 proteinopathies exhibiting a loss of nuclear TDP-43. The strongest misregulated target encoded the synaptic protein NPTX2, the levels of which are controlled by TDP-43 binding on its 3′ untranslated region. When NPTX2 was overexpressed in iNets, it exhibited neurotoxicity, whereas correcting NPTX2 misregulation partially rescued neurons from TDP-43-induced neurodegeneration. Notably, NPTX2 was consistently misaccumulated in neurons from patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 pathology. Our work directly links TDP-43 misregulation and NPTX2 accumulation, thereby revealing a TDP-43-dependent pathway of neurotoxicity.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Institute of Neuropathology
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Molecular Life Sciences
04 Faculty of Medicine > Brain Research Institute
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
570 Life sciences; biology
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Multidisciplinary
Uncontrolled Keywords:Multidisciplinary
Language:English
Date:14 February 2024
Deposited On:06 Mar 2024 12:10
Last Modified:30 Jun 2024 03:39
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:0028-0836
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-024-07042-7
PubMed ID:38355792
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)