ALS is a fatal, complex neurodegenerative disorder that causes selective degeneration of motor neurons. ALS patients exhibit symptoms consistent with altered cellular energetics such as hypermetabolism, weight loss, dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, and altered glucose tolerance. Although evidence supports metabolic changes in ALS patients, metabolic alterations at a cellular level remain poorly understood. Here, we used a Drosophila model of ALS based on TDP-43 expression in motor neurons that recapitulates hallmark features of motor neuron disease including TDP-43 aggregation, locomotor dysfunction, and reduced lifespan. To gain insights into metabolic changes caused by TDP-43, we performed global metabolomic profiling in larvae expressing TDP-43 (WT or ALS associated mutant variant, G298S) and identified significant alterations in several metabolic pathways. Here, we report alterations in multiple metabolic pathways and highlight upregulation of TCA cycle metabolites and defects in neurotransmitter levels. We also show that modulating TCA cycle flux either genetically or by dietary intervention mitigates TDP-43-dependent locomotor defects. In addition, dopamine levels are significantly reduced in the context of TDP-43G298S, and we find that treatment with pramipexole, a dopamine agonist, improves locomotor function in vivo in Drosophila models of TDP-43 proteinopathy.
- Metabolic alterations
- TCA cycle
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Molecular Biology