Different tau epitopes define Abeta42-mediated tau insolubility.
ABSTRACT Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by extracellular beta-amyloid (Abeta(42))-containing plaques and intracellular neurofibrillary tangles. The latter are composed of hyperphosphorylated filamentous aggregates of the microtubule-associated protein tau. Previously we demonstrated pathological interactions between these two histopathological hallmarks using human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells overexpressing wild-type and mutant forms of human tau. Exposure to pre-aggregated forms of Abeta(42) caused both the formation of AD-like tau-containing filaments and a decreased solubility of tau, both of which were prevented by mutating the S422 phospho-epitope of tau. Here, we expressed additional tau mutants in SH-SY5Y cells to assess the role of phosphorylation and cleavage sites of tau in tau aggregation. We found that the Abeta(42)-mediated decrease in tau solubility depends on the interplay of distinct phospho-epitopes of tau and not only on phosphorylation of the S422 epitope.
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ABSTRACT: With populations ageing worldwide, the need for treating and preventing diseases associated with high age is pertinent. Alzheimer's disease (AD) is reaching epidemic proportions, yet the currently available therapies are limited to a symptomatic relief, without halting the degenerative process that characterizes the AD brain. As in AD cholinergic neurons are lost at high numbers, the initial strategies were limited to the development of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, and more recently the NMDA receptor antagonist memantine, in counteracting excitotoxicity. With the identification of the protein tau in intracellular neurofibrillary tangles and of the peptide amyloid-β (Aβ) in extracellular amyloid plaques in the AD brain, and a better understanding of their role in disease, newer strategies are emerging, which aim at either preventing their formation and deposition or at accelerating their clearance. Interestingly, what is well established to combat viral diseases in peripheral organs - vaccination - seems to work for the brain as well. Accordingly, immunization strategies targeting Aβ show efficacy in mice and to some degree also in humans. Even more surprising is the finding in mice that immunization strategies targeting tau, a protein that forms aggregates in nerve cells, ameliorates the tau-associated pathology. We are reviewing the literature and discuss what can be expected regarding the translation into clinical practice and how the findings can be extended to other neurodegenerative diseases with protein aggregation in brain.British Journal of Pharmacology 11/2011; 165(5):1246-59. · 5.07 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is reaching epidemic proportions, yet a cure is not yet available. While the genetic causes of the rare familial inherited forms of AD are understood, the causes of the sporadic forms of the disease are not. Histopathologically, these two forms of AD are indistinguishable: they are characterized by amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide-containing amyloid plaques and tau-containing neurofibrillary tangles. In this review we compare AD to frontotemporal dementia (FTD), a subset of which is characterized by tau deposition in the absence of overt plaques. A host of transgenic animal AD models have been established through the expression of human proteins with pathogenic mutations previously identified in familial AD and FTD. Determining how these mutant proteins cause disease in vivo should contribute to an understanding of the causes of the more frequent sporadic forms. We discuss the insight transgenic animal models have provided into Aβ and tau toxicity, also with regards to mitochondrial function and the crucial role tau plays in mediating Aβ toxicity. We also discuss the role of miRNAs in mediating the toxic effects of the Aβ peptide.Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS 06/2011; 68(20):3359-75. · 5.62 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) are complex human brain disorders that affect an increasing number of people worldwide. With the identification first of the proteins that aggregate in AD and FTLD brains and subsequently of pathogenic gene mutations that cause their formation in the familial cases, the foundation was laid for the generation of animal models. These recapitulate essential aspects of the human conditions; expression of mutant forms of the amyloid-β protein-encoding APP gene in mice reproduces amyloid-β (Aβ) plaque formation in AD, while that of mutant forms of the tau-encoding microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT) gene reproduces tau-containing neurofibrillary tangle formation, a lesion that is also prevalent in FTLD-Tau. The mouse models have been complemented by those in lower species such as C. elegans or Drosophila, highlighting the crucial role for Aβ and tau in human neurodegenerative disease. In this review, we will introduce selected AD/FTLD models and discuss how they were instrumental, by identifying deregulated mRNAs, miRNAs and proteins, in dissecting pathogenic mechanisms in neurodegenerative disease. We will discuss some recent examples, which includes miRNA species that are specifically deregulated by Aβ, mitochondrial proteins that are targets of both Aβ and tau, and the nuclear splicing factor SFPQ that accumulates in the cytoplasm in a tau-dependent manner. These examples illustrate how a functional genomics approach followed by a careful validation in experimental models and human tissue leads to a deeper understanding of the pathogenesis of AD and FTLD and ultimately, may help in finding a cure.Frontiers in Physiology 01/2012; 3:320.