In >95% of cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and ∼45% of frontotemporal degeneration (FTD), the RNA/DNA-binding protein TDP-43 is cleared from the nucleus and abnormally accumulates in the cytoplasm of affected brain cells. Although the cellular triggers of disease pathology remain enigmatic, mounting evidence implicates the poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases (PARPs) in TDP-43 neurotoxicity. Here we show that inhibition of the PARP enzymes tankyrase 1 and tankyrase 2 (referred to as Tnks-1/2) protect primary rodent neurons from TDP-43-associated neurotoxicity. We demonstrate that Tnks-1/2 interacts with TDP-43 via a newly defined tankyrase-binding domain. Upon investigating the functional effect, we find that interaction with Tnks-1/2 inhibits the ubiquitination and proteasomal turnover of TDP-43, leading to its stabilization. We further show that proteasomal turnover of TDP-43 occurs preferentially in the nucleus; our data indicate that Tnks-1/2 stabilizes TDP-43 by promoting cytoplasmic accumulation, which sequesters the protein from nuclear proteasome degradation. Thus, Tnks-1/2 activity modulates TDP-43 and is a potential therapeutic target in diseases associated with TDP-43, such as ALS and FTD.This article has an associated First Person interview with the first author of the paper.