Reduced PHOX2B stability causes axonal growth impairment in motor neurons with TARDBP mutations

Shio Mitsuzawa, Naoki Suzuki, Tetsuya Akiyama, Mitsuru Ishikawa, Takefumi Sone, Jiro Kawada, Ryo Funayama, Matsuyuki Shirota, Hiroaki Mitsuhashi, Satoru Morimoto, Kensuke Ikeda, Tomomi Shijo, Akiyuki Ohno, Naoko Nakamura, Hiroya Ono, Risako Ono, Shion Osana, Tadashi Nakagawa, Ayumi Nishiyama, Rumiko IzumiShohei Kaneda, Yoshiho Ikeuchi, Keiko Nakayama, Teruo Fujii, Hitoshi Warita, Hideyuki Okano, Masashi Aoki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an adult-onset incurable motor neuron (MN) disease. The reasons for selective MN vulnerability in ALS are unknown. Axonal pathology is among the earliest signs of ALS. We searched for novel modulatory genes in human MN axon shortening affected by TARDBP mutations. In transcriptome analysis of RNA present in the axon compartment of human-derived induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived MNs, PHOX2B (paired-like homeobox protein 2B) showed lower expression in TARDBP mutant axons, which was consistent with axon qPCR and in situ hybridization. PHOX2B mRNA stability was reduced in TARDBP mutant MNs. Furthermore, PHOX2B knockdown reduced neurite length in human MNs. Finally, phox2b knockdown in zebrafish induced short spinal axons and impaired escape response. PHOX2B is known to be highly express in other types of neurons maintained after ALS progression. Collectively, TARDBP mutations induced loss of axonal resilience, which is an important ALS-related phenotype mediated by PHOX2B downregulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1527-1541
Number of pages15
JournalStem cell reports
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jun 8


  • TAR-DNA binding protein (TARDBP)
  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • human-induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived motor neurons
  • neurite length

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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