The mRNA transcript of the human STMN2 gene, encoding for stathmin-2 protein (also called SCG10), is profoundly impacted by TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) loss of function. The latter is a hallmark of several neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Using a combination of approaches, including transient antisense oligonucleotide-mediated suppression, sustained shRNA-induced depletion in aging mice, and germline deletion, we show that stathmin-2 has an important role in the establishment and maintenance of neurofilament-dependent axoplasmic organization that is critical for preserving the caliber and conduction velocity of myelinated large-diameter axons. Persistent stathmin-2 loss in adult mice results in pathologies found in ALS, including reduced interneurofilament spacing, axonal caliber collapse that drives tearing within outer myelin layers, diminished conduction velocity, progressive motor and sensory deficits, and muscle denervation. These findings reinforce restoration of stathmin-2 as an attractive therapeutic approach for ALS and other TDP-43-dependent neurodegenerative diseases.
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