Milk lipid secretion is a critical process for the delivery of nutrition and energy from parent to offspring. However, the underlying molecular mechanism is less clear. Here we report that TDP-43, a RNA-binding protein, underwent positive selection in the mammalian lineage. Furthermore, TDP-43 gene (Tardbp) loss induces accumulation of large lipid droplets and severe lipid secretion deficiency in mammary epithelial cells to outside alveolar lumens, eventually resulting in lactation failure and pup starvation within three weeks postpartum. In human milk samples from lactating women, the expression levels of TDP-43 is positively correlated with higher milk output. Mechanistically, TDP-43 exerts post-transcriptional regulation of Btn1a1 and Xdh mRNA stability, which are required for the secretion of lipid droplets from epithelial cells to the lumen. Taken together, our results highlights the critical role of TDP-43 in milk lipid secretion, providing a potential strategy for the screening and intervention of clinical lactation insufficiency.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)