[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The nuclear transactive response DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) undergoes relocalization to the cytoplasm with formation of cytoplasmic deposits in neurons in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). Pathogenic mutations in the TDP-43-encoding TARDBP gene in familial ALS as well as non-mutant human TDP-43 have been utilized to model FTD/ALS in cell culture and animals, including mice. Here, we report novel A315T mutant TDP-43 transgenic mice, iTDP-43 (A315T) , with controlled neuronal over-expression. Constitutive expression of human TDP-43 (A315T) resulted in pronounced early-onset and progressive neurodegeneration, which was associated with compromised motor performance, spatial memory and disinhibition. Muscle atrophy resulted in reduced grip strength. Cortical degeneration presented with pronounced astrocyte activation. Using differential protein extraction from iTDP-43 (A315T) brains, we found cytoplasmic localization, fragmentation, phosphorylation and ubiquitination and insolubility of TDP-43. Surprisingly, suppression of human TDP-43 (A315T) expression in mice with overt neurodegeneration for only 1 week was sufficient to significantly improve motor and behavioral deficits, and reduce astrogliosis. Our data suggest that functional deficits in iTDP-43 (A315T) mice are at least in part a direct and transient effect of the presence of TDP-43 (A315T) . Furthermore, it illustrates the compensatory capacity of compromised neurons once transgenic TDP-43 is removed, with implications for future treatments.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ischemic stroke is a leading cause of death. It has previously been shown that blocking activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) with the MEK inhibitor U0126 mitigates brain damage in rodent models of ischemic stroke. Here we show that the newer MEK inhibitor PD184161 reduces cell death and altered gene expression in cultured neurons and mice undergoing excitotoxicity, and has similar protective effects in a mouse model of stroke. This further supports ERK inhibition as a potential treatment for stroke.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Both Alzheimer's disease (AD) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are characterized by the deposition of hyperphosphorylated forms of the microtubule-associated protein tau in neurons and/or glia. This unifying pathology led to the umbrella term "tauopathies" for these conditions, also emphasizing the central role of tau in AD and FTD. Generation of transgenic mouse models expressing human tau in the brain has contributed to the understanding of the pathomechanistic role of tau in disease. To reveal the physiological functions of tau in vivo, several knockout mouse strains with deletion of the tau-encoding MAPT gene have been established over the past decade, using different gene targeting constructs. Surprisingly, when initially introduced tau knockout mice presented with no overt phenotype or malformations. The number of publications using tau knockout mice has recently markedly increased, and both behavioural changes and motor deficits have been identified in aged mice of certain strains. Moreover, tau knockout mice have been instrumental in identifying novel functions of tau, both in cultured neurons and in vivo. Importantly, tau knockout mice have significantly contributed to the understanding of the pathophysiological interplay between Aβ and tau in AD. Here, we review the literature that involves tau knockout mice to summarize what we have learned so far from depleting tau in vivo.
International Journal of Alzheimer's Disease 06/2012; 2012(12):873270. DOI:10.1155/2012/873270
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tau dysfunction characterizes neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). Here, we performed an unbiased SAGE (serial analysis of gene expression) of differentially expressed mRNAs in the amygdala of transgenic pR5 mice that express human tau carrying the P301L mutation previously identified in familial cases of FTLD. SAGE identified 29 deregulated transcripts including Sfpq that encodes a nuclear factor implicated in the splicing and regulation of gene expression. To assess the relevance for human disease we analyzed brains from AD, Pick's disease (PiD, a form of FTLD), and control cases. Strikingly, in AD and PiD, both dementias with a tau pathology, affected brain areas showed a virtually complete nuclear depletion of SFPQ in both neurons and astrocytes, along with cytoplasmic accumulation. Accordingly, neurons harboring either AD tangles or Pick bodies were also depleted of SFPQ. Immunoblot analysis of human entorhinal cortex samples revealed reduced SFPQ levels with advanced Braak stages suggesting that the SFPQ pathology may progress together with the tau pathology in AD. To determine a causal role for tau, we stably expressed both wild-type and P301L human tau in human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells, an established cell culture model of tau pathology. The cells were differentiated by two independent methods, mitomycin C-mediated cell cycle arrest or neuronal differentiation with retinoic acid. Confocal microscopy revealed that SFPQ was confined to nuclei in non-transfected wild-type cells, whereas in wild-type and P301L tau over-expressing cells, irrespective of the differentiation method, it formed aggregates in the cytoplasm, suggesting that pathogenic tau drives SFPQ pathology in post-mitotic cells. Our findings add SFPQ to a growing list of transcription factors with an altered nucleo-cytoplasmic distribution under neurodegenerative conditions.
PLoS ONE 04/2012; 7(4):e35678. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0035678 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Alzheimer's disease (AD) brains, the microtubule-associated protein tau and amyloid-β (Aβ) deposit as intracellular neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) and extracellular plaques, respectively. Tau deposits are furthermore found in a significant number of frontotemporal dementia cases. These diseases are characterized by progressive neurodegeneration, the loss of intellectual capabilities and behavioral changes. Unfortunately, the currently available therapies are limited to symptomatic relief. While active immunization against Aβ has shown efficacy in both various AD mouse models and patients with AD, immunization against pathogenic tau has only recently been shown to prevent pathology in young tau transgenic mice. However, if translated to humans, diagnosis and treatment would be routinely done when symptoms are overt, meaning that the histopathological changes have already progressed. Therefore, we used active immunization to target pathogenic tau in 4, 8, and 18 months-old P301L tau transgenic pR5 mice that have an onset of NFT pathology at 6 months of age. In all age groups, NFT pathology was significantly reduced in treated compared to control pR5 mice. Similarly, phosphorylation of tau at pathological sites was reduced. In addition, increased astrocytosis was found in the oldest treated group. Taken together, our data suggests that tau-targeted immunization slows the progression of NFT pathology in mice, with practical implications for human patients.
PLoS ONE 12/2011; 6(12):e26860. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0026860 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) are characterized by intraneuronal deposition of the nuclear TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) caused by unknown mechanisms. Here, we studied TDP-43 in primary neurons under different stress conditions and found that only proteasome inhibition by MG-132 or lactacystin could induce significant cytoplasmic accumulation of TDP-43, a histopathological hallmark in disease. This cytoplasmic accumulation was accompanied by phosphorylation, ubiquitination and aggregation of TDP-43, recapitulating major features of disease. Proteasome inhibition produced similar effects in both hippocampal and cortical neurons, as well as in immortalized motor neurons. To determine the contribution of TDP-43 to cell death, we reduced TDP-43 expression using small interfering RNA (siRNA), and found that reduced levels of TDP-43 dose-dependently rendered neurons more vulnerable to MG-132. Taken together, our data suggests a role for the proteasome in subcellular localization of TDP-43, and possibly in disease.
PLoS ONE 07/2011; 6(7):e22850. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0022850 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Both Alzheimer's disease (AD) and almost every second case of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) are characterized by the deposition of hyperphosphorylated forms of the microtubule-associated protein tau in neurons and/or glia. This unifying pathology led to coining the umbrella term "tauopathies" for these conditions. While the deposition of tau ultimately results in the formation of typical histopathological lesions, such as the neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) in AD, it is now well accepted that tau interferes with normal functions in neurons already before its deposition. Together with the identification of pathogenic mutations in the tau-encoding gene MAPT in FTLD and evidence from a rising number of in vivo animal models a central role of tau in neurodegeneration has emerged. Here, we review the role of pathological tau in axonal transport, mitochondrial respiration, and in mediating amyloid-β toxicity in AD. Furthermore, we review recent findings regarding the spreading of tau pathology throughout the brain as disease progresses.
International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Life 07/2011; 63(7):495-502. DOI:10.1002/iub.467 · 3.14 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by amyloid-beta (Abeta) and tau deposition in brain. It has emerged that Abeta toxicity is tau dependent, although mechanistically this link remains unclear. Here, we show that tau, known as axonal protein, has a dendritic function in postsynaptic targeting of the Src kinase Fyn, a substrate of which is the NMDA receptor (NR). Missorting of tau in transgenic mice expressing truncated tau (Deltatau) and absence of tau in tau(-/-) mice both disrupt postsynaptic targeting of Fyn. This uncouples NR-mediated excitotoxicity and hence mitigates Abeta toxicity. Deltatau expression and tau deficiency prevent memory deficits and improve survival in Abeta-forming APP23 mice, a model of AD. These deficits are also fully rescued with a peptide that uncouples the Fyn-mediated interaction of NR and PSD-95 in vivo. Our findings suggest that this dendritic role of tau confers Abeta toxicity at the postsynapse with direct implications for pathogenesis and treatment of AD.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) brains are characterized by amyloid-beta-containing plaques and hyperphosphorylated tau-containing neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs); however, in frontotemporal dementia, the tau pathology manifests in the absence of overt amyloid-beta plaques. Therapeutic strategies so far have primarily been targeting amyloid-beta, although those targeting tau are only slowly beginning to emerge. Here, we identify sodium selenate as a compound that reduces tau phosphorylation both in vitro and in vivo. Importantly, chronic oral treatment of two independent tau transgenic mouse strains with NFT pathology, P301L mutant pR5 and K369I mutant K3 mice, reduces tau hyperphosphorylation and completely abrogates NFT formation. Furthermore, treatment improves contextual memory and motor performance, and prevents neurodegeneration. As hyperphosphorylation of tau precedes NFT formation, the effect of selenate on tau phosphorylation was assessed in more detail, a process regulated by both kinases and phosphatases. A major phosphatase implicated in tau dephosphorylation is the serine/threonine-specific protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) that is reduced in both levels and activity in the AD brain. We found that selenate stabilizes PP2A-tau complexes. Moreover, there was an absence of therapeutic effects in sodium selenate-treated tau transgenic mice that coexpress a dominant-negative mutant form of PP2A, suggesting a mediating role for PP2A. Taken together, sodium selenate mitigates tau pathology in several AD models, making it a promising lead compound for tau-targeted treatments of AD and related dementias.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2010; 107(31):13888-93. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1009038107 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Normal brain development and function depends on microRNA (miRNA) networks to fine tune the balance between the transcriptome and proteome of the cell. These small non-coding RNA regulators are highly enriched in brain where they play key roles in neuronal development, plasticity and disease. In neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease (AD), brain miRNA profiles are altered; thus miRNA dysfunction could be both a cause and a consequence of disease. Our study dissects the complexity of human AD pathology, and addresses the hypothesis that amyloid-beta (Abeta) itself, a known causative factor of AD, causes neuronal miRNA deregulation, which could contribute to the pathomechanisms of AD. We used sensitive TaqMan low density miRNA arrays (TLDA) on murine primary hippocampal cultures to show that about half of all miRNAs tested were down-regulated in response to Abeta peptides. Time-course assays of neuronal Abeta treatments show that Abeta is in fact a powerful regulator of miRNA levels as the response of certain mature miRNAs is extremely rapid. Bioinformatic analysis predicts that the deregulated miRNAs are likely to affect target genes present in prominent neuronal pathways known to be disrupted in AD. Remarkably, we also found that the miRNA deregulation in hippocampal cultures was paralleled in vivo by a deregulation in the hippocampus of Abeta42-depositing APP23 mice, at the onset of Abeta plaque formation. In addition, the miRNA deregulation in hippocampal cultures and APP23 hippocampus overlaps with those obtained in human AD studies. Taken together, our findings suggest that neuronal miRNA deregulation in response to an insult by Abeta may be an important factor contributing to the cascade of events leading to AD.
PLoS ONE 06/2010; 5(6):e11070. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0011070 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: How beta-amyloid (Abeta) and tau exert toxicity in Alzheimer's disease is only partly understood. Major questions include (1) which aggregation state of Abeta confers toxicity, (2) do amyloidogenic proteins have similar mechanisms of toxicity, and (3) does soluble tau interfere with cellular functions?
To determine Abeta toxicity in P301L mutant tau transgenic mice, mitochondrial function was assessed after insult with monomeric, oligomeric and fibrillar Abeta. Amylin and Abeta toxicity were compared in cortical and hippocampal long-term cultures. To determine tau toxicity, K369I mutant tau mice were established as a model of frontotemporal dementia, analyzed biochemically and compared with human diseased brain.
Oligomeric and fibrillar Abeta42 were both toxic, although to different degrees. Human amylin shared toxicity with Abeta42, an effect not observed for nonamyloidogenic rat amylin. Clinical features of K369I tau mice were caused by aberrant interaction of phosphorylated tau with JIP1, a component of the kinesin transport machinery.
Our data support the notion of a synergistic action of tau and Abeta pathology on mitochondria. A specific conformation of Abeta42 and human amylin determines toxicity. Finally, trapping of JIP1 by phosphorylated tau in the neuronal soma emerges as a fundamental pathomechanism in neurodegeneration.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Diabetes mellitus (DM) is characterized by hyperglycemia caused by a lack of insulin, insulin resistance, or both. There is increasing evidence that insulin also plays a role in Alzheimer's disease (AD) as it is involved in the metabolism of beta-amyloid (Abeta) and tau, two proteins that form Abeta plaques and neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), respectively, the hallmark lesions in AD. Here, we examined the effects of experimental DM on a pre-existing tau pathology in the pR5 transgenic mouse strain that is characterized by NFTs. pR5 mice express P301L mutant human tau that is associated with dementia. Experimental DM was induced by administration of streptozotocin (STZ), which causes insulin deficiency. We determined phosphorylation of tau, using immunohistochemistry and Western blotting. Solubility of tau was determined upon extraction with sarkosyl and formic acid, and Gallyas silver staining was employed to reveal NFTs. Insulin depletion by STZ administration in six months-old non-transgenic mice causes increased tau phosphorylation, without its deposition or NFT formation. In contrast, in pR5 mice this results in massive deposition of hyperphosphorylated, insoluble tau. Furthermore, they develop a pronounced tau-histopathology, including NFTs at this early age, while the pathology in sham-treated pR5 mice is moderate. Whereas experimental DM did not result in deposition of hyperphosphorylated tau in non-transgenic mice, a predisposition to develop a tau pathology in young pR5 mice was both sufficient and necessary to exacerbate tau deposition and NFT formation. Hence, DM can accelerate onset and increase severity of disease in individuals with a predisposition to developing tau pathology.
PLoS ONE 11/2009; 4(11):e7917. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0007917 · 3.23 Impact Factor