Splice-site and missense mutations have been identified in tau associated with frontotemporal dementia with parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17. In this study we assessed the genetic contribution of tau mutations to three patient series with non-Alzheimer's (non-AD) degenerative dementia. The groups included (1) a community-based dementia series from Minnesota, MN; (2) a referral series with clinicopathological tauopathy; and (3) a pathologically confirmed familial frontotemporal dementia series from Manchester, UK. Comparing the three clinical series: in the stringently diagnosed Manchester frontotemporal dementia series, tau mutations were present in 13.6% of cases (three splice-site mutations); in the clinicopathological referral series that used more general inclusion criteria, 3 cases with P301L mutations were observed, which represents a lower mutation frequency of 3.6% (9.4% in familial cases); in contrast, tau mutations were not detected in the Minnesota community-based dementia series, suggesting the occurrence of these mutations in dementia generally is rare (<0.2%). These data identify the prevalence of mutations in three different clinical settings and indicate that this figure is sensitive to the diagnostic criteria used in each patient series.
"To test the broader role of PICK1 to modulate neurodegenerative-associated proteins, we then tested the ability of PICK1 to affect Tau toxicity. Mutation in the microtubule-binding protein, Tau, leads to the formation of insoluble, hyperphosphorylated-Tau positive neurofibrillary tangles in Alzheimer's disease (27–29). We expressed a mutant form of human Tau, hTau.R406W, with either the PICK1 RNAi transgene or with heterozygous loss of endogenous PICK1. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Spinocerebellar ataxia 3 (SCA3) is the most common autosomal dominant ataxia. The disease is caused by an expansion of a CAG-trinucelotide repeat region within the coding sequence of the ATXN3 gene, and this results in an expanded polyglutamine (polyQ) tract within the Ataxin-3 protein. The polyQ expansion leads to neuronal dysfunction and cell death. Here, we tested the ability of a number of proteins that interact with Ataxin-3 to modulate SCA3 pathogenicity using Drosophila. Of 10 candidates, we found four novel enhancers and one suppressor. The suppressor, PICK1 (Protein interacting with C kinase 1), is a transport protein that regulates the trafficking of ion channel subunits involved in calcium homeostasis to and from the plasma membrane. In line with calcium homeostasis being a potential pathway mis-regulated in SCA3, we also found that down-regulation of Nach, an acid sensing ion channel, mitigates SCA3 pathogenesis in flies. Modulation of PICK1 could be targeted in other neurodegenerative diseases, as the toxicity of SCA1 and tau was also suppressed when PICK1 was down-regulated. These findings indicate that interaction proteins may define a rich source of modifier pathways to target in disease situations.
Human Molecular Genetics 09/2011; 21(1):76-84. DOI:10.1093/hmg/ddr439 · 6.39 Impact Factor
"Several studies have shown that the FTDP-17 pathogenic tau mutation P301L can segregate with the H2 allele (Houlden et al. 1999; Sobrido et al. 2003); in the same way, other mutations or non-benign polymorphisms might also be segregating in or near the tau/STH locus. Additional evidence for the R allele being deleterious comes from genetic studies of STH. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A single nucleotide polymorphism that results in an amino acid change (Q7R) has been identified in the Saitohin (STH) gene and was initially found to be over-represented in the homozygous state in subjects with late-onset Alzheimer's disease (AD). More extensive studies provide limited support for the association with AD, but confirm an association of the Q allele with progressive supranuclear palsy and argyrophilic grain disease. A homologous sequence was found in the appropriate location of the rat and mouse tau genes, but there was no open reading frame allowing STH expression in these species, suggesting relatively recent evolution of this gene. In some non-human primates, the STH gene was identified, and this was found to differ from the human gene at two of 128 amino acids. All primates in which the STH gene was identified were homozygous for the R allele of STH, suggesting this is the ancestral allele. This observation was surprising, in that the Q allele is more common in human populations, and raises the possibility that natural selection has operated to favor individuals carrying this allele. The STH polymorphism is part of the tau gene haplotype, of which two major variants exist in human populations, the Q being part of the H1 haplotype and the R part of the H2 haplotype. More detailed studies confirm the H2 haplotype to be the ancestral tau gene. This situation is reminiscent of the evolution of the apolipoprotein (ApoE) gene, another locus that is potentially important for the risk of development of AD.
Journal of Neurochemistry 05/2004; 89(1):179-88. DOI:10.1046/j.1471-4159.2004.02320.x · 4.28 Impact Factor
"As also observed in series from France and Northern America (Dumanchin et al., 1998; Poorkaj et al., 2001), the most common tau mutation in The Netherlands was P301L (19 patients), which may be due to a founder effect in these populations. The absence of intronic splice-site mutations appears to be common on the European continent, in contrast to the UK, where mainly intronic mutations downstream of exon 10 are found (Dumanchin et al., 1998; Houlden et al., 1999; Poorkaj et al., 2001). More than half of the pathologically con®rmed cases did not have deposition of hyperphosphorylated tau in affected brain regions, as also reported in other pathological series (Cooper et al., 1995; Mann et al., 2000). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Since 1994, a population-based study of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) in The Netherlands has aimed to ascertain all patients with FTD, and first prevalence estimates based on 74 patients were reported in 1998. Here, we present new prevalence estimates after expansion of our FTD population to 245 patients, with emphasis on the prevalence in the province Zuid-Holland where the main study centre is located. All neurologists and physicians in nursing homes received a yearly postal enquiry about suspected FTD cases. FTD was diagnosed in 245 patients according to the Lund-Manchester criteria, supported by neuroimaging and neuropsychology. tau mutation analysis was performed in a subgroup of 154 patients (63%), and 40 out of 98 patients (41%) who died during follow-up were autopsied during the course of the study. The prevalence of FTD in the province Zuid-Holland was 3.6 per 100,000 at age 50-59 years, 9.4 per 100,000 at age 60-69 years and 3.8 per 100,000 at age 70-79 years. The median age at onset of the 245 patients (51% female) was 58.0 years (range 33-80 years). Dementia in one or more first-degree family members was found in 43% of patients and mutation analysis of the tau gene showed mutations in 34 patients (19 P301L, five L315R, four G272V, four R406W, one Delta K280 and one S320F), all with a positive family history for dementia (14% of the total population, 32% of patients with a positive family history). Pathological findings in the 40 autopsied patients consisted of dementia lacking distinctive histology in 22%, FTD with ubiquitin-positive inclusions in 33%, Pick's disease in 15% and tauopathy in the remaining 30% of patients, with tau mutations identified in more than half of the latter patients. We conclude that the prevalence of FTD in The Netherlands is higher than previously reported, confirming that FTD is more common than was previously thought. The finding of tau mutations in 32% of patients with a positive family history for dementia justifies mutation screening in FTD patients with a positive family history, while tau mutations in non-familiar cases are rare.
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