Distinct neurotoxic TDP-43 fibril polymorphs are generated by heterotypic interactions with α-Synuclein

Shailendra Dhakal, Alicia S. Robang, Nemil Bhatt, Nicha Puangmalai, Leiana Fung, Rakez Kayed, Anant K. Paravastu, Vijayaraghavan Rangachari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Amyloid aggregates of specific proteins constitute important pathological hallmarks in many neurodegenerative diseases, defining neuronal degeneration and disease onset. Recently, increasing numbers of patients show comorbidities and overlaps between multiple neurodegenerative diseases, presenting distinct phenotypes. Such overlaps are often accompanied by colocalizations of more than one amyloid protein, prompting the question of whether direct interactions between different amyloid proteins could generate heterotypic amyloids. To answer this question, we investigated the effect of α-synuclein (αS) on the DNA-binding protein TDP-43 aggregation inspired by their coexistence in pathologies such as Lewy body dementia and limbic predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy. We previously showed αS and prion-like C-terminal domain (PrLD) of TDP-43 synergistically interact to generate toxic heterotypic aggregates. Here, we extend these studies to investigate whether αS induces structurally and functionally distinct polymorphs of PrLD aggregates. Using αS–PrLD heterotypic aggregates generated in two different stoichiometric proportions, we show αS can affect PrLD fibril forms. PrLD fibrils show distinctive residue level signatures determined by solid state NMR, dye-binding capability, proteinase K (PK) stability, and thermal stability toward SDS denaturation. Furthremore, by gold nanoparticle labeling and transmission electron microscopy, we show the presence of both αS and PrLD proteins within the same fibrils, confirming the existence of heterotypic amyloid fibrils. We also observe αS and PrLD colocalize in the cytosol of neuroblastoma cells and show that the heterotypic PrLD fibrils selectively induce synaptic dysfunction in primary neurons. These findings establish the existence of heterotypic amyloid and provide a molecular basis for the observed overlap between synucleinopathies and TDP-43 proteinopathies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102498
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • PrLD
  • TDP-43
  • amyloids
  • copathologies
  • heterotypic aggregates
  • neurodegeneration
  • polymorphs
  • α-synuclein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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