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Protein TARDBP PDB 1wf0.png
Available structures
PDBOrtholog search: PDBe RCSB
AliasesTARDBP, ALS10, TDP-43, TAR DNA binding protein
External IDsOMIM: 605078 MGI: 2387629 HomoloGene: 7221 GeneCards: TARDBP
Gene location (Human)
Chromosome 1 (human)
Chr.Chromosome 1 (human)[1]
Chromosome 1 (human)
Genomic location for TARDBP
Genomic location for TARDBP
Band1p36.22Start11,012,344 bp[1]
End11,026,420 bp[1]
RNA expression pattern
PBB GE TARDBP 221264 s at fs.png
More reference expression data
RefSeq (mRNA)


RefSeq (protein)


Location (UCSC)Chr 1: 11.01 – 11.03 MbChr 4: 148.61 – 148.63 Mb
PubMed search[3][4]
View/Edit HumanView/Edit Mouse

TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43, transactive response DNA binding protein 43 kDa), is a protein that in humans is encoded by the TARDBP gene.[5]


TDP-43 is 414 amino acid residues long. It consists of 4 domains: an N-terminal domain spanning residues 1-76 (NTD) with a well-defined fold that has been shown to form a dimer or oligomer;[6][7] 2 highly conserved folded RNA recognition motifs spanning residues 106-176 (RRM1) and 191-259 (RRM2), respectively, required to bind target RNA and DNA;[8] an unstructured C-terminal domain encompassing residues 274-414 (CTD), which contains a glycine-rich region, is involved in protein-protein interactions, and harbors most of the mutations associated with familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.[9]

The entire protein devoid of large solubilising tags has been recently purified.[10] The full-length protein is a dimer.[10] The dimer is formed due to a self-interaction between two NTD domains,[6][7] where the dimerisation can be propagated to form higher-order oligomers.[6]

The protein sequence also has a nuclear localization signal (NLS, residues 82–98), a nuclear export signal (NES residues 239–250) and 3 putative caspase-3 cleavage sites (residues 13, 89, 219).[10]


TDP-43 is a transcriptional repressor that binds to chromosomally integrated TAR DNA and represses HIV-1 transcription. In addition, this protein regulates alternate splicing of the CFTR gene. In particular, TDP-43 is a splicing factor binding to the intron8/exon9 junction of the CFTR gene and to the intron2/exon3 region of the apoA-II gene.[11] A similar pseudogene is present on chromosome 20.[12]

TDP-43 has been shown to bind both DNA and RNA and have multiple functions in transcriptional repression, pre-mRNA splicing and translational regulation. Recent work has characterized the transcriptome-wide binding sites revealing that thousands of RNAs are bound by TDP-43 in neurons.[13]

TDP-43 was originally identified as a transcriptional repressor that binds to chromosomally integrated trans-activation response element (TAR) DNA and represses HIV-1 transcription.[5] It was also reported to regulate alternate splicing of the CFTR gene and the apoA-II gene.[14][15]

In spinal motor neurons TDP-43 has also been shown in humans to be a low molecular weight neurofilament (hNFL) mRNA-binding protein.[16] It has also shown to be a neuronal activity response factor in the dendrites of hippocampal neurons suggesting possible roles in regulating mRNA stability, transport and local translation in neurons.[17]

Recently, it has been demonstrated that zinc ions are able to induce aggregation of endogenous TDP-43 in cells.[18] Moreover, zinc could bind to RNA binding domain of TDP-43 and induce the formation of amyloid-like aggregates in vitro.[19]

DNA repair[edit]

TDP-43 protein is a key element of the non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) enzymatic pathway that repairs DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) in pluripotent stem cell-derived motor neurons.[20] TDP-43 is rapidly recruited to DSBs where it acts as a scaffold for the further recruitment of the XRCC4-DNA ligase protein complex that then acts to seal the DNA breaks. In TDP-43 depleted human neural stem cell-derived motor neurons, as well as in sporadic ALS patients’ spinal cord specimens there is significant DSB accumulation and reduced levels of NHEJ.[20]

Clinical significance[edit]

A hyper-phosphorylated, ubiquitinated and cleaved form of TDP-43—known as pathologic TDP43—is the major disease protein in ubiquitin-positive, tau-, and alpha-synuclein-negative frontotemporal dementia (FTLD-TDP, previously referred to as FTLD-U[21]) and in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).[22][23] Elevated levels of the TDP-43 protein have also been identified in individuals diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and has also been associated with ALS leading to the inference that athletes who have experienced multiple concussions and other types of head injury are at an increased risk for both encephalopathy and motor neuron disease (ALS).[24] Abnormalities of TDP-43 also occur in an important subset of Alzheimer's disease patients, correlating with clinical and neuropathologic features indexes.[25] Misfolded TDP-43 is found in the brains of older adults over age 85 with limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy, (LATE), a form of dementia.

HIV-1, the causative agent of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), contains an RNA genome that produces a chromosomally integrated DNA during the replicative cycle. Activation of HIV-1 gene expression by the transactivator "Tat" is dependent on an RNA regulatory element (TAR) located "downstream" (i.e. to-be transcribed at a later point in time) of the transcription initiation site.

Mutations in the TARDBP gene are associated with neurodegenerative disorders including frontotemporal lobar degeneration and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).[26] In particular, the TDP-43 mutants M337V and Q331K are being studied for their roles in ALS.[27][28][29] Cytoplasmic TDP-43 pathology is the dominant histopathological feature of multisystem proteinopathy.[30] The N-terminal domain, which contributes importantly to the aggregation of the C-terminal region, has a novel structure with two negatively charged loops.[31] A recent study has demonstrated that cellular stress can trigger the abnormal cytoplasmic mislocalisation of TDP-43 in spinal motor neurons in vivo, providing insight into how TDP-43 pathology may develop in sporadic ALS patients.[32]


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  2. ^ a b c GRCm38: Ensembl release 89: ENSMUSG00000041459 - Ensembl, May 2017
  3. ^ "Human PubMed Reference:". National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  4. ^ "Mouse PubMed Reference:". National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]