[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The work presented herein addresses a specific portion of the tau pathology, pre-fibrillar oligomers, now thought to be important pathological components in Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative tauopathies. In previous work, we generated an antibody against purified recombinant cross-linked tau dimers, called Tau Oligomeric Complex 1 (TOC1). TOC1 recognizes tau oligomers and its immunoreactivity is elevated in Alzheimer's disease brains. In this report, we expand upon the previous study to show that TOC1 selectively labels tau oligomers over monomers or polymers, and that TOC1 is also reactive in other neurodegenerative tauopathies. Using a series of deletion mutants spanning the tau molecule, we further demonstrate that TOC1 has one continuous epitope located within amino acids 209-224 in the so-called proline rich region. Together with the previous study our data indicates that TOC1 is a conformation-dependent antibody whose epitope is revealed upon dimerization and oligomerization, but concealed again as polymers form. This characterization of the TOC1 antibody further supports its potential as a powerful biochemical tool that can be used to better investigate the involvement of tau in neurodegenerative diseases.
Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 08/2013; · 4.17 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: AD (Alzheimer's disease) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the extracellular accumulation of amyloid β-peptide and the intracellular accumulation of tau. Although there is much evidence linking tau to neurodegeneration, the precise mechanism of tau-mediated neurotoxicity remains elusive. The presence of tau-positive pre-tangle neurons lacking neurofibrillary tangles has been reported in AD brain tissue. In order to study this non-fibrillar tau, we generated a novel monoclonal antibody, named TOC1 (tau oligomeric complex 1), which selectively labels tau dimers and oligomers, but does not label filaments. Time-course analysis and antibody labelling indicates that oligomers appear as an early event in AD pathogenesis. Using a squid axoplasm assay, we have demonstrated that aggregated tau inhibits anterograde FAT (fast axonal transport), whereas monomeric tau has no effect. This inhibition requires a small stretch of N-terminal amino acids termed the PAD (phosphatase-activation domain). Using a PAD-specific antibody, TNT1 (tau N-terminal 1), we demonstrate that PAD exposure is increased in diseased neurons and this leads to an increase in FAT inhibition. Antibody co-labelling with the early-AD marker AT8 indicates that, similar to TOC1, TNT1 expression represents an early event in AD pathogenesis. Finally, the effects of the molecular chaperone Hsp70 (heat-shock protein 70) were also investigated within the squid axoplasm assay. We illustrate that Hsp70 preferentially binds to tau oligomers over filaments and prevents anterograde FAT inhibition observed with a mixture of both forms of aggregated tau. Together, these findings support the hypothesis that tau oligomers are the toxic form of tau in neurodegenerative disease.
Biochemical Society Transactions 08/2012; 40(4):667-71. · 2.59 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tau is a microtubule-associated protein thought to help modulate the stability of neuronal microtubules. In tauopathies, including Alzheimer's disease and several frontotemporal dementias, tau is abnormally modified and misfolded resulting in its disassociation from microtubules and the generation of pathological lesions characteristic for each disease. A recent surge in the population of people with neurodegenerative tauopathies has highlighted the immense need for disease-modifying therapies for these conditions, and new attention has focused on tau as a potential target for intervention. In the current work we summarize evidence linking tau to disease pathogenesis and review recent therapeutic approaches aimed at ameliorating tau dysfunction. The primary therapeutic tactics considered include kinase inhibitors and phosphatase activators, immunotherapies, small molecule inhibitors of protein aggregation, and microtubule-stabilizing agents. Although the evidence for tau-based treatments is encouraging, additional work is undoubtedly needed to optimize each treatment strategy for the successful development of safe and effective therapeutics.