No treatment for frontotemporal dementia (FTD), the second most common early-onset dementia, is available but therapeutics are being investigated to target the two main proteins associated with FTD pathological subtypes: TDP-43 (FTLD-TDP) and tau (FTLD-tau). Testing potential therapies in clinical trials is hamstrung by our inability to distinguish between patients with FTLD-TDP and FTLD-tau. Therefore, we evaluated truncated stathmin-2 (STMN2) as a proxy of TDP-43 pathology, given reports that TDP-43 dysfunction causes truncated STMN2 accumulation. Truncated STMN2 accumulated in human iPSC-derived neurons depleted of TDP-43, but not in those with pathogenic TARDBP mutations in the absence of TDP-43 aggregation or loss of nuclear protein. In RNA-seq analyses of human brain samples from the NYGC ALS cohort, truncated STMN2 RNA was confined to tissues and disease sub-types marked by TDP-43 inclusions. Lastly, we validated that truncated STMN2 RNA is elevated in the frontal cortex of a cohort of FTLD-TDP cases but not in controls or cases with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), a type of FTLD-tau. Further, in FTLD-TDP, we observed significant associations of truncated STMN2 RNA with phosphorylated TDP-43 levels and an earlier age of disease onset. Overall, our data uncovered truncated STMN2 as a marker for TDP-43 dysfunction in FTD.
Mercedes Prudencio, Jack Humphrey, Sarah Pickles, Anna-Leigh Brown, Sarah E. Hill, Jennifer Kachergus, Ji Shi, Michael Heckman, Matthew Spiegel, Casey Cook, Yuping Song, Mei Yue, Lillian Daughrity, Yari Carlomagno, Karen Jansen-West, Cristhoper Fernandez De Castro, Michael DeTure, Shunsuke Koga, Ying-Chih Wang, Prasanth Sivakumar, Cristian Bodo, Ana Candalija, Kevin Talbot, Bhuvaneish T. Selvaraj, Karen Burr, Siddharthan Chandran, Jia Newcombe, Tammaryn Lashley, Isabel Hubbard, Demetra Catalano, Duyang Kim, Nadia Propp, Samantha Fennessey, Delphine Fagegaltier, Hemali Phatnani, Maria Secrier, Elizabeth M.C. Fisher, Björn Oskarsson, Marka van Blitterswijk, Rosa Rademakers, Neill R. Graff-Radford, Bradley Boeve, David S. Knopman, Ronald Petersen, Keith Josephs, E. Aubrey Thompson, Towfique Raj, Michael E. Ward, Dennis Dickson, Tania F. Gendron, Pietro Fratta, Leonard Petrucelli