G2Cdb::Gene report

Gene id
Gene symbol
Mapt (MGI)
Mus musculus
microtubule-associated protein tau
G00002285 (Homo sapiens)

Databases (11)

Curated Gene
OTTMUSG00000003153 (Vega mouse gene)
ENSMUSG00000018411 (Ensembl mouse gene)
17762 (Entrez Gene)
970 (G2Cdb plasticity & disease)
Gene Expression
MGI:97180 (Allen Brain Atlas)
g02423 (BGEM)
17762 (Genepaint)
mapt (gensat)
157140 (OMIM)
Marker Symbol
MGI:97180 (MGI)
Protein Sequence
P10637 (UniProt)

Synonyms (2)

  • Mtapt
  • Tau

Literature (253)

Pubmed - other

  • A sensory subpopulation depends on vesicular glutamate transporter 2 for mechanical pain, and together with substance P, inflammatory pain.

    Lagerström MC, Rogoz K, Abrahamsen B, Lind AL, Olund C, Smith C, Mendez JA, Wallén-Mackenzie Å, Wood JN and Kullander K

    Department of Neuroscience, Uppsala University, 75124 Uppsala, Sweden.

    Ablating or functionally compromising sets of sensory neurons has provided important insights into peripheral modality-specific wiring in the somatosensory system. Inflammatory hyperalgesia, cold pain, and noxious mechanosensation have all been shown to depend upon Na(v)1.8-positive sensory neurons. The release of fast-acting neurotransmitters, such as glutamate, and more slowly released neuropeptides, such as substance P (SP), contribute to the diversified responses to external stimuli. Here we show that deleting Vglut2 in Na(v)1.8(Cre)-positive neurons compromised mechanical pain and NGF-induced thermal hyperalgesia, whereas tactile-evoked sensation, thermal, formalin-evoked, and chronic neuropathic pain were normal. However, when Vglut2(f/f);Na(v)1.8(Cre) mice were injected with a SP antagonist before the formalin test, the second phase pain response was nearly completely abolished, whereas in control mice, the pain response was unaffected. Our results suggest that VGLUT2-dependent signaling originating from Na(v)1.8-positive neurons is a principal sensing mechanism for mechanical pain and, together with SP, inflammatory pain. These data define sets of primary afferents associated with specific modalities and provide useful genetic tools with which to analyze the pathways that are activated by functionally distinct neuronal populations and transmitters.

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2011;108;14;5789-94

  • Impaired attention in the 3xTgAD mouse model of Alzheimer's disease: rescue by donepezil (Aricept).

    Romberg C, Mattson MP, Mughal MR, Bussey TJ and Saksida LM

    Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3EB, United Kingdom. carola.romberg@gmail.com

    Several mouse models of Alzheimer's disease (AD) with abundant β-amyloid and/or aberrantly phosphorylated tau develop memory impairments. However, multiple non-mnemonic cognitive domains such as attention and executive control are also compromised early in AD individuals. Currently, it is unclear whether mutations in the β-amyloid precursor protein (APP) and tau are sufficient to cause similar, AD-like attention deficits in mouse models of the disease. To address this question, we tested 3xTgAD mice (which express APPswe, PS1M146V, and tauP301L mutations) and wild-type control mice on a newly developed touchscreen-based 5-choice serial reaction time test of attention and response control. The 3xTgAD mice attended less accurately to short, spatially unpredictable stimuli when the attentional demand of the task was high, and also showed a general tendency to make more perseverative responses than wild-type mice. The attentional impairment of 3xTgAD mice was comparable to that of AD patients in two aspects: first, although 3xTgAD mice initially responded as accurately as wild-type mice, they subsequently failed to sustain their attention over the duration of the task; second, the ability to sustain attention was enhanced by the cholinesterase inhibitor donepezil (Aricept). These findings demonstrate that familial AD mutations not only affect memory, but also cause significant impairments in attention, a cognitive domain supported by the prefrontal cortex and its afferents. Because attention deficits are likely to affect memory encoding and other cognitive abilities, our findings have important consequences for the assessment of disease mechanisms and therapeutics in animal models of AD.

    Funded by: Intramural NIH HHS: Z01 AG000312-08, Z01 AG000313-08, Z01 AG000314-08, Z01 AG000317-08; Medical Research Council: G0001354; Wellcome Trust

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2011;31;9;3500-7

  • Nuclear tau, a key player in neuronal DNA protection.

    Sultan A, Nesslany F, Violet M, Bégard S, Loyens A, Talahari S, Mansuroglu Z, Marzin D, Sergeant N, Humez S, Colin M, Bonnefoy E, Buée L and Galas MC

    Inserm UMR837, Alzheimer and Tauopathies, 1 rue Michel Polonovski, 59045 Lille, France.

    Tau, a neuronal protein involved in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer disease, which is primarily described as a microtubule-associated protein, has also been observed in the nuclei of neuronal and non-neuronal cells. However, the function of the nuclear form of Tau in neurons has not yet been elucidated. In this work, we demonstrate that acute oxidative stress and mild heat stress (HS) induce the accumulation of dephosphorylated Tau in neuronal nuclei. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation assays, we demonstrate that the capacity of endogenous Tau to interact with neuronal DNA increased following HS. Comet assays performed on both wild-type and Tau-deficient neuronal cultures showed that Tau fully protected neuronal genomic DNA against HS-induced damage. Interestingly, HS-induced DNA damage observed in Tau-deficient cells was completely rescued after the overexpression of human Tau targeted to the nucleus. These results highlight a novel role for nuclear Tau as a key player in early stress response.

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2011;286;6;4566-75

  • Tau protein is required for amyloid {beta}-induced impairment of hippocampal long-term potentiation.

    Shipton OA, Leitz JR, Dworzak J, Acton CE, Tunbridge EM, Denk F, Dawson HN, Vitek MP, Wade-Martins R, Paulsen O and Vargas-Caballero M

    Department of Physiology, Anatomy, and Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3PT, United Kingdom.

    Amyloid β (Aβ) and tau protein are both implicated in memory impairment, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and early Alzheimer's disease (AD), but whether and how they interact is unknown. Consequently, we asked whether tau protein is required for the robust phenomenon of Aβ-induced impairment of hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP), a widely accepted cellular model of memory. We used wild-type mice and mice with a genetic knock-out of tau protein and recorded field potentials in an acute slice preparation. We demonstrate that the absence of tau protein prevents Aβ-induced impairment of LTP. Moreover, we show that Aβ increases tau phosphorylation and that a specific inhibitor of the tau kinase glycogen synthase kinase 3 blocks the increased tau phosphorylation induced by Aβ and prevents Aβ-induced impairment of LTP in wild-type mice. Together, these findings show that tau protein is required for Aβ to impair synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus and suggest that the Aβ-induced impairment of LTP is mediated by tau phosphorylation. We conclude that preventing the interaction between Aβ and tau could be a promising strategy for treating cognitive impairment in MCI and early AD.

    Funded by: Medical Research Council: G0400571; Parkinson's UK: J-0901; Wellcome Trust: 084655

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2011;31;5;1688-92

  • Accelerated human mutant tau aggregation by knocking out murine tau in a transgenic mouse model.

    Ando K, Leroy K, Héraud C, Yilmaz Z, Authelet M, Suain V, De Decker R and Brion JP

    Laboratory of Histology, Neuroanatomy and Neuropathology, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium.

    Many models of human tauopathies have been generated in mice by expression of a human mutant tau with maintained expression of mouse endogenous tau. Because murine tau might interfere with the toxic effects of human mutant tau, we generated a model in which a pathogenic human tau protein is expressed in the absence of wild-type tau protein, with the aim of facilitating the study of the pathogenic role of the mutant tau and to reproduce more faithfully a human tauopathy. The Tg30 line is a tau transgenic mouse model overexpressing human 1N4R double-mutant tau (P301S and G272V) that develops Alzheimer's disease-like neurofibrillary tangles in an age-dependent manner. By crossing Tg30 mice with mice invalidated for their endogenous tau gene, we obtained Tg30xtau(-/-) mice that express only exogenous human double-mutant 1N4R tau. Although Tg30xtau(-/-) mice express less tau protein compared with Tg30, they exhibit signs of decreased survival, increased proportion of sarkosyl-insoluble tau in the brain and in the spinal cord, increased number of Gallyas-positive neurofibrillary tangles in the hippocampus, increased number of inclusions in the spinal cord, and a more severe motor phenotype. Deletion of murine tau accelerated tau aggregation during aging of this mutant tau transgenic model, suggesting that murine tau could interfere with the development of tau pathology in transgenic models of human tauopathies.

    The American journal of pathology 2011;178;2;803-16

  • Relationship of adult neurogenesis with tau phosphorylation and GSK-3β activity in subventricular zone.

    Hong XP, Peng CX, Wei W, Tian Q, Liu YH, Cao FY, Wang Q and Wang JZ

    Department of Pathophysiology, Key Laboratory of Neurological Diseases of Education Committee of China, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, People.s Republic of China. xphong100@126.com

    Altered neurogenesis has been reported in Alzheimer disease (AD), the most common neurodegenerative disorder characterized with hyperphosphorylated tau and accumulation of β-amyloid (Aβ). Recent studies suggest that tau phosphorylation is essential for hippocampal neurogenesis, however, it is not known whether tau phosphorylation also play a role in neurogenesis of subventricular zone (SVZ), another main progenitor niche in the brain. Here, we examined the expression of phosphorylated tau (p-tau) in SVZ and analyzed the role of p-tau in adult SVZ neurogenesis. We found that the expression of p-tau increased during postnatal development and remains at a high level until adulthood, and the p-tau was colocalized with some SVZ neural precursors. However, up-regulating glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3), a crucial tau kinase, had no effect on SVZ neurogenesis in adult rat brain. The SVZ neurogenesis was also unaffected in tau knockout and human tau transgenic mice. These results suggest that tau phosphorylation and GSK-3 activation may not be essential for adult SVZ neurogenesis.

    Neurochemical research 2011;36;2;288-96

  • A high-resolution anatomical atlas of the transcriptome in the mouse embryo.

    Diez-Roux G, Banfi S, Sultan M, Geffers L, Anand S, Rozado D, Magen A, Canidio E, Pagani M, Peluso I, Lin-Marq N, Koch M, Bilio M, Cantiello I, Verde R, De Masi C, Bianchi SA, Cicchini J, Perroud E, Mehmeti S, Dagand E, Schrinner S, Nürnberger A, Schmidt K, Metz K, Zwingmann C, Brieske N, Springer C, Hernandez AM, Herzog S, Grabbe F, Sieverding C, Fischer B, Schrader K, Brockmeyer M, Dettmer S, Helbig C, Alunni V, Battaini MA, Mura C, Henrichsen CN, Garcia-Lopez R, Echevarria D, Puelles E, Garcia-Calero E, Kruse S, Uhr M, Kauck C, Feng G, Milyaev N, Ong CK, Kumar L, Lam M, Semple CA, Gyenesei A, Mundlos S, Radelof U, Lehrach H, Sarmientos P, Reymond A, Davidson DR, Dollé P, Antonarakis SE, Yaspo ML, Martinez S, Baldock RA, Eichele G and Ballabio A

    Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine, Naples, Italy.

    Ascertaining when and where genes are expressed is of crucial importance to understanding or predicting the physiological role of genes and proteins and how they interact to form the complex networks that underlie organ development and function. It is, therefore, crucial to determine on a genome-wide level, the spatio-temporal gene expression profiles at cellular resolution. This information is provided by colorimetric RNA in situ hybridization that can elucidate expression of genes in their native context and does so at cellular resolution. We generated what is to our knowledge the first genome-wide transcriptome atlas by RNA in situ hybridization of an entire mammalian organism, the developing mouse at embryonic day 14.5. This digital transcriptome atlas, the Eurexpress atlas (http://www.eurexpress.org), consists of a searchable database of annotated images that can be interactively viewed. We generated anatomy-based expression profiles for over 18,000 coding genes and over 400 microRNAs. We identified 1,002 tissue-specific genes that are a source of novel tissue-specific markers for 37 different anatomical structures. The quality and the resolution of the data revealed novel molecular domains for several developing structures, such as the telencephalon, a novel organization for the hypothalamus, and insight on the Wnt network involved in renal epithelial differentiation during kidney development. The digital transcriptome atlas is a powerful resource to determine co-expression of genes, to identify cell populations and lineages, and to identify functional associations between genes relevant to development and disease.

    Funded by: Medical Research Council: MC_U127527203; Telethon: TGM11S03

    PLoS biology 2011;9;1;e1000582

  • Rheb1 is required for mTORC1 and myelination in postnatal brain development.

    Zou J, Zhou L, Du XX, Ji Y, Xu J, Tian J, Jiang W, Zou Y, Yu S, Gan L, Luo M, Yang Q, Cui Y, Yang W, Xia X, Chen M, Zhao X, Shen Y, Chen PY, Worley PF and Xiao B

    The State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, People's Republic of China.

    mTor kinase is involved in cell growth, proliferation, and differentiation. The roles of mTor activators, Rheb1 and Rheb2, have not been established in vivo. Here, we report that Rheb1, but not Rheb2, is critical for embryonic survival and mTORC1 signaling. Embryonic deletion of Rheb1 in neural progenitor cells abolishes mTORC1 signaling in developing brain and increases mTORC2 signaling. Remarkably, embryonic and early postnatal brain development appears grossly normal in these Rheb1f/f,Nes-cre mice with the notable exception of deficits of myelination. Conditional expression of Rheb1 transgene in neural progenitors increases mTORC1 activity and promotes myelination in the brain. In addition the Rheb1 transgene rescues mTORC1 signaling and hypomyelination in the Rheb1f/f,Nes-cre mice. Our study demonstrates that Rheb1 is essential for mTORC1 signaling and myelination in the brain, and suggests that mTORC1 signaling plays a role in selective cellular adaptations, rather than general cellular viability.

    Funded by: NIDA NIH HHS: DA00266-36, P50 DA000266, R37 DA010309, R37 DA010309-16; NIMH NIH HHS: MH068830-05, P50 MH068830, R01 MH053608, R01 MH053608-17

    Developmental cell 2011;20;1;97-108

  • Amyloid-β/Fyn-induced synaptic, network, and cognitive impairments depend on tau levels in multiple mouse models of Alzheimer's disease.

    Roberson ED, Halabisky B, Yoo JW, Yao J, Chin J, Yan F, Wu T, Hamto P, Devidze N, Yu GQ, Palop JJ, Noebels JL and Mucke L

    Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease, San Francisco, California 94158, USA. eroberson@uab.edu

    Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most common neurodegenerative disorder, is a growing public health problem and still lacks effective treatments. Recent evidence suggests that microtubule-associated protein tau may mediate amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) toxicity by modulating the tyrosine kinase Fyn. We showed previously that tau reduction prevents, and Fyn overexpression exacerbates, cognitive deficits in human amyloid precursor protein (hAPP) transgenic mice overexpressing Aβ. However, the mechanisms by which Aβ, tau, and Fyn cooperate in AD-related pathogenesis remain to be fully elucidated. Here we examined the synaptic and network effects of this pathogenic triad. Tau reduction prevented cognitive decline induced by synergistic effects of Aβ and Fyn. Tau reduction also prevented synaptic transmission and plasticity deficits in hAPP mice. Using electroencephalography to examine network effects, we found that tau reduction prevented spontaneous epileptiform activity in multiple lines of hAPP mice. Tau reduction also reduced the severity of spontaneous and chemically induced seizures in mice overexpressing both Aβ and Fyn. To better understand these protective effects, we recorded whole-cell currents in acute hippocampal slices from hAPP mice with and without tau. hAPP mice with tau had increased spontaneous and evoked excitatory currents, reduced inhibitory currents, and NMDA receptor dysfunction. Tau reduction increased inhibitory currents and normalized excitation/inhibition balance and NMDA receptor-mediated currents in hAPP mice. Our results indicate that Aβ, tau, and Fyn jointly impair synaptic and network function and suggest that disrupting the copathogenic relationship between these factors could be of therapeutic benefit.

    Funded by: NCRR NIH HHS: RR018928; NIA NIH HHS: AG022074, P01 AG022074-09; NINDS NIH HHS: NS041787, NS054811, NS29709, R01 NS041787-11

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2011;31;2;700-11

  • Biguanide metformin acts on tau phosphorylation via mTOR/protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) signaling.

    Kickstein E, Krauss S, Thornhill P, Rutschow D, Zeller R, Sharkey J, Williamson R, Fuchs M, Köhler A, Glossmann H, Schneider R, Sutherland C and Schweiger S

    Max-Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics,14195 Berlin, Germany.

    Hyperphosphorylated tau plays an important role in the formation of neurofibrillary tangles in brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related tauopathies and is a crucial factor in the pathogenesis of these disorders. Though diverse kinases have been implicated in tau phosphorylation, protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) seems to be the major tau phosphatase. Using murine primary neurons from wild-type and human tau transgenic mice, we show that the antidiabetic drug metformin induces PP2A activity and reduces tau phosphorylation at PP2A-dependent epitopes in vitro and in vivo. This tau dephosphorylating potency can be blocked entirely by the PP2A inhibitors okadaic acid and fostriecin, confirming that PP2A is an important mediator of the observed effects. Surprisingly, metformin effects on PP2A activity and tau phosphorylation seem to be independent of AMPK activation, because in our experiments (i) metformin induces PP2A activity before and at lower levels than AMPK activity and (ii) the AMPK activator AICAR does not influence the phosphorylation of tau at the sites analyzed. Affinity chromatography and immunoprecipitation experiments together with PP2A activity assays indicate that metformin interferes with the association of the catalytic subunit of PP2A (PP2Ac) to the so-called MID1-α4 protein complex, which regulates the degradation of PP2Ac and thereby influences PP2A activity. In summary, our data suggest a potential beneficial role of biguanides such as metformin in the prophylaxis and/or therapy of AD.

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2010;107;50;21830-5

  • Immunotherapy targeting pathological tau prevents cognitive decline in a new tangle mouse model.

    Boutajangout A, Quartermain D and Sigurdsson EM

    Department of Physiology and Neuroscience, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA.

    Harnessing the immune system to clear protein aggregates is emerging as a promising approach to treat various neurodegenerative diseases. In Alzheimer's disease (AD), several clinical trials are ongoing using active and passive immunotherapy targeting the amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide. Limited emphasis has been put into clearing tau/tangle pathology, another major hallmark of the disease. Recent findings from the first Aβ vaccination trial suggest that this approach has limited effect on tau pathology and that Aβ plaque clearance may not halt or slow the progression of dementia in individuals with mild-to-moderate AD. To assess within a reasonable timeframe whether targeting tau pathology with immunotherapy could prevent cognitive decline, we developed a new model with accelerated tangle development. It was generated by crossing available strains that express all six human tau isoforms and the M146L presenilin mutation. Here, we show that this unique approach completely prevents severe cognitive impairment in three different tests. This remarkable effect correlated well with extensive clearance of abnormal tau within the brain. Overall, our findings indicate that immunotherapy targeting pathological tau is very feasible for tauopathies, and should be assessed in clinical trials in the near future.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: R01 AG020197-01, R01 AG020197-02, R01 AG020197-03, R01 AG020197-04, R01 AG020197-05, R01 AG020197-06A2, R01 AG020197-07, R01 AG020197-08, R01 AG020197-09, R01 AG032611, R01 AG032611-01, R01 AG032611-02, R01 AG032611-03, R01 AG032611-04

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2010;30;49;16559-66

  • Amyloid β accelerates phosphorylation of tau and neurofibrillary tangle formation in an amyloid precursor protein and tau double-transgenic mouse model.

    Seino Y, Kawarabayashi T, Wakasaya Y, Watanabe M, Takamura A, Yamamoto-Watanabe Y, Kurata T, Abe K, Ikeda M, Westaway D, Murakami T, Hyslop PS, Matsubara E and Shoji M

    Department of General Medicine, Mutsu General Hospital, Mutsu, Japan.

    In Alzheimer's disease, Aβ deposits are considered the initial cardinal events that induce tauopathy secondarily. However, the relationship between Aβ amyloidosis and tauopathy has not been determined in detail. We produced double transgenic mice, 2×TgTau(+/-) APP(+/-) , by mating Tg2576 mice that exhibit Aβ amyloidosis and TgTauP301L mice that show tauopathy, and statistically analyzed the effect of Aβ accumulation on tauopathy. There was no significant difference in theprogression of Aβ accumulation among 2×TgTau(+/-) APP(+/-) and 1×TgTau(-/-) APP(+/-) , and tau accumulation among 2×TgTau(+/-) APP(+/-) and 1×Tg Tau(+/-) APP(-/-) . The appearance rates of phosphorylated tau developing in neurons and processes were significantly accelerated in 2×TgTau(+/-) APP(+/-) mice compared with those in 1×TgTau(+/-) APP(-/-) mice at 23 months of age. Accumulation of phosphorylated and confomationally altered tau and GSK3β in neuronal processes was accelerated in the white matter in 2×TgTau(+/-) APP(+/-) . The level of phosphorylated tau in the sarkosyl-insoluble fraction was increased in 2×TgTau(+/-) APP(+/-) brains compared with that in 1×TgTau(+/-) APP(-/-) brains. Thus, Aβ amyloid partially enhances tauopathy through accumulation of insoluble, phosphorylated, and conformationally changed tau in neuronal cytoplasm and processes in the late stage.

    Funded by: Wellcome Trust: 081864

    Journal of neuroscience research 2010;88;16;3547-54

  • Multiple events lead to dendritic spine loss in triple transgenic Alzheimer's disease mice.

    Bittner T, Fuhrmann M, Burgold S, Ochs SM, Hoffmann N, Mitteregger G, Kretzschmar H, LaFerla FM and Herms J

    Center of Neuropathology and Prion Research, Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich, Germany.

    The pathology of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by the accumulation of amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide, hyperphosphorylated tau protein, neuronal death, and synaptic loss. By means of long-term two-photon in vivo imaging and confocal imaging, we characterized the spatio-temporal pattern of dendritic spine loss for the first time in 3xTg-AD mice. These mice exhibit an early loss of layer III neurons at 4 months of age, at a time when only soluble Aβ is abundant. Later on, dendritic spines are lost around amyloid plaques once they appear at 13 months of age. At the same age, we observed spine loss also in areas apart from amyloid plaques. This plaque independent spine loss manifests exclusively at dystrophic dendrites that accumulate both soluble Aβ and hyperphosphorylated tau intracellularly. Collectively, our data shows that three spatio-temporally independent events contribute to a net loss of dendritic spines. These events coincided either with the occurrence of intracellular soluble or extracellular fibrillar Aβ alone, or the combination of intracellular soluble Aβ and hyperphosphorylated tau.

    PloS one 2010;5;11;e15477

  • Monosynaptic rabies virus reveals premotor network organization and synaptic specificity of cholinergic partition cells.

    Stepien AE, Tripodi M and Arber S

    Department of Cell Biology, University of Basel, Biozentrum, Klingelbergstrasse 70, 4056 Basel, Switzerland.

    Movement is the behavioral output of neuronal activity in the spinal cord. Motor neurons are grouped into motor neuron pools, the functional units innervating individual muscles. Here we establish an anatomical rabies virus-based connectivity assay in early postnatal mice. We employ it to study the connectivity scheme of premotor neurons, the neuronal cohorts monosynaptically connected to motor neurons, unveiling three aspects of organization. First, motor neuron pools are connected to segmentally widely distributed yet stereotypic interneuron populations, differing for pools innervating functionally distinct muscles. Second, depending on subpopulation identity, interneurons take on local or segmentally distributed positions. Third, cholinergic partition cells involved in the regulation of motor neuron excitability segregate into ipsilaterally and bilaterally projecting populations, the latter exhibiting preferential connections to functionally equivalent motor neuron pools bilaterally. Our study visualizes the widespread yet precise nature of the connectivity matrix for premotor interneurons and reveals exquisite synaptic specificity for bilaterally projecting cholinergic partition cells.

    Neuron 2010;68;3;456-72

  • VGLUT2-dependent glutamate release from nociceptors is required to sense pain and suppress itch.

    Liu Y, Abdel Samad O, Zhang L, Duan B, Tong Q, Lopes C, Ji RR, Lowell BB and Ma Q

    Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, 1 Jimmy Fund Way, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

    Itch can be suppressed by painful stimuli, but the underlying neural basis is unknown. We generated conditional null mice in which vesicular glutamate transporter type 2 (VGLUT2)-dependent synaptic glutamate release from mainly Nav1.8-expressing nociceptors was abolished. These mice showed deficits in pain behaviors, including mechanical pain, heat pain, capsaicin-evoked pain, inflammatory pain, and neuropathic pain. The pain deficits were accompanied by greatly enhanced itching, as suggested by (1) sensitization of both histamine-dependent and histamine-independent itch pathways and (2) development of spontaneous scratching and skin lesions. Strikingly, intradermal capsaicin injection promotes itch responses in these mutant mice, as opposed to pain responses in control littermates. Consequently, coinjection of capsaicin was no longer able to mask itch evoked by pruritogenic compounds. Our studies suggest that synaptic glutamate release from a group of peripheral nociceptors is required to sense pain and suppress itch. Elimination of VGLUT2 in these nociceptors creates a mouse model of chronic neurogenic itch.

    Funded by: NIDCR NIH HHS: R01 DE018025, R01DE018025; NINDS NIH HHS: P01 NS047572, P01NS047572, R01 NS047710, R01NS047710

    Neuron 2010;68;3;543-56

  • VGLUT2-dependent sensory neurons in the TRPV1 population regulate pain and itch.

    Lagerström MC, Rogoz K, Abrahamsen B, Persson E, Reinius B, Nordenankar K, Olund C, Smith C, Mendez JA, Chen ZF, Wood JN, Wallén-Mackenzie A and Kullander K

    Department of Neuroscience, Uppsala University, Box 593, 751 24 Uppsala, Sweden.

    The natural response to itch sensation is to scratch, which relieves the itch through an unknown mechanism. Interaction between pain and itch has been frequently demonstrated, and the selectivity hypothesis of itch, based on data from electrophysiological and behavioral experiments, postulates the existence of primary pain afferents capable of repressing itch. Here, we demonstrate that deletion of vesicular glutamate transporter (VGLUT) 2 in a subpopulation of neurons partly overlapping with the vanilloid receptor (TRPV1) primary afferents resulted in a dramatic increase in itch behavior accompanied by a reduced responsiveness to thermal pain. The increased itch behavior was reduced by administration of antihistaminergic drugs and by genetic deletion of the gastrin-releasing peptide receptor, demonstrating a dependence on VGLUT2 to maintain normal levels of both histaminergic and nonhistaminergic itch. This study establishes that VGLUT2 is a major player in TRPV1 thermal nociception and also serves to regulate a normal itch response.

    Funded by: NIAMS NIH HHS: R01 AR056318-02, R01 AR056318-03, R01 AR056318-04

    Neuron 2010;68;3;529-42

  • Differential subcellular recruitment of monoacylglycerol lipase generates spatial specificity of 2-arachidonoyl glycerol signaling during axonal pathfinding.

    Keimpema E, Barabas K, Morozov YM, Tortoriello G, Torii M, Cameron G, Yanagawa Y, Watanabe M, Mackie K and Harkany T

    European Neuroscience Institute at Aberdeen and Division of Applied Medicine, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, United Kingdom.

    Endocannabinoids, particularly 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG), impact the directional turning and motility of a developing axon by activating CB(1) cannabinoid receptors (CB(1)Rs) in its growth cone. Recent findings posit that sn-1-diacylglycerol lipases (DAGLα/β) synthesize 2-AG in the motile axon segment of developing pyramidal cells. Coincident axonal targeting of CB(1)Rs and DAGLs prompts the hypothesis that autocrine 2-AG signaling facilitates axonal outgrowth. However, DAGLs alone are insufficient to account for the spatial specificity and dynamics of 2-AG signaling. Therefore, we hypothesized that local 2-AG degradation by monoacylglycerol lipase (MGL) must play a role. We determined how subcellular recruitment of MGL is temporally and spatially restricted to establish the signaling competence of 2-AG during axonal growth. MGL is expressed in central and peripheral axons of the fetal nervous system by embryonic day 12.5. MGL coexists with DAGLα and CB(1)Rs in corticofugal axons of pyramidal cells. Here, MGL and DAGLα undergo differential axonal targeting with MGL being excluded from the motile neurite tip. Thus, spatially confined MGL activity generates a 2-AG-sensing microdomain and configures 2-AG signaling to promote axonal growth. Once synaptogenesis commences, MGL disperses in stationary growth cones. The axonal polarity of MGL is maintained by differential proteasomal degradation because inhibiting the ubiquitin proteasome system also induces axonal MGL redistribution. Because MGL inactivation drives a CB(1)R-dependent axonal growth response, we conclude that 2-AG may act as a focal protrusive signal for developing neurons and whose regulated metabolism is critical for attaining correct axonal complexity.

    Funded by: NIDA NIH HHS: DA023214, DA11322, DA21696, K05 DA021696, R01 DA011322, R01 DA023214, R01 DA023214-01A1

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2010;30;42;13992-4007

  • Apolipoprotein E4 causes age- and Tau-dependent impairment of GABAergic interneurons, leading to learning and memory deficits in mice.

    Andrews-Zwilling Y, Bien-Ly N, Xu Q, Li G, Bernardo A, Yoon SY, Zwilling D, Yan TX, Chen L and Huang Y

    Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94158, USA.

    Apolipoprotein E4 (apoE4) is the major genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. However, the underlying mechanisms are unclear. We found that female apoE4 knock-in (KI) mice had an age-dependent decrease in hilar GABAergic interneurons that correlated with the extent of learning and memory deficits, as determined in the Morris water maze, in aged mice. Treating apoE4-KI mice with daily peritoneal injections of the GABA(A) receptor potentiator pentobarbital at 20 mg/kg for 4 weeks rescued the learning and memory deficits. In neurotoxic apoE4 fragment transgenic mice, hilar GABAergic interneuron loss was even more pronounced and also correlated with the extent of learning and memory deficits. Neurodegeneration and tauopathy occurred earliest in hilar interneurons in apoE4 fragment transgenic mice; eliminating endogenous Tau prevented hilar GABAergic interneuron loss and the learning and memory deficits. The GABA(A) receptor antagonist picrotoxin abolished this rescue, while pentobarbital rescued learning deficits in the presence of endogenous Tau. Thus, apoE4 causes age- and Tau-dependent impairment of hilar GABAergic interneurons, leading to learning and memory deficits in mice. Consequently, reducing Tau and enhancing GABA signaling are potential strategies to treat or prevent apoE4-related Alzheimer's disease.

    Funded by: NCRR NIH HHS: C06 RR018928, C06RR18928; NIA NIH HHS: P01 AG022074, P01 AG022074-06

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2010;30;41;13707-17

  • Tau reduction prevents Abeta-induced defects in axonal transport.

    Vossel KA, Zhang K, Brodbeck J, Daub AC, Sharma P, Finkbeiner S, Cui B and Mucke L

    Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA. kvossel@gladstone.ucsf.edu

    Amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides, derived from the amyloid precursor protein, and the microtubule-associated protein tau are key pathogenic factors in Alzheimer's disease (AD). How exactly they impair cognitive functions is unknown. We assessed the effects of Aβ and tau on axonal transport of mitochondria and the neurotrophin receptor TrkA, cargoes that are critical for neuronal function and survival and whose distributions are altered in AD. Aβ oligomers rapidly inhibited axonal transport of these cargoes in wild-type neurons. Lowering tau levels prevented these defects without affecting baseline axonal transport. Thus, Aβ requires tau to impair axonal transport, and tau reduction protects against Aβ-induced axonal transport defects.

    Funded by: NCRR NIH HHS: C06 RR018928; NIA NIH HHS: AG011385, R01 AG011385, R01 AG011385-07, R37 AG011385; NINDS NIH HHS: K99 NS057906, NS041787, NS057906, R00 NS057906, R00 NS057906-05, R01 NS041787, R01 NS041787-09

    Science (New York, N.Y.) 2010;330;6001;198

  • Loss of Hsp110 leads to age-dependent tau hyperphosphorylation and early accumulation of insoluble amyloid beta.

    Eroglu B, Moskophidis D and Mivechi NF

    Center for Molecular Chaperone/Radiobiology and Cancer Virology, Medical College of Georgia, 1410 Laney Walker Blvd., CN-3141, Augusta, GA 30912, USA.

    Accumulation of tau into neurofibrillary tangles is a pathological consequence of Alzheimer's disease and other tauopathies. Failures of the quality control mechanisms by the heat shock proteins (Hsps) positively correlate with the appearance of such neurodegenerative diseases. However, in vivo genetic evidence for the roles of Hsps in neurodegeneration remains elusive. Hsp110 is a nucleotide exchange factor for Hsp70, and direct substrate binding to Hsp110 may facilitate substrate folding. Hsp70 complexes have been implicated in tau phosphorylation state and amyloid precursor protein (APP) processing. To provide evidence for a role for Hsp110 in central nervous system homeostasis, we have generated hsp110(-)(/)(-) mice. Our results show that hsp110(-)(/)(-) mice exhibit accumulation of hyperphosphorylated-tau (p-tau) and neurodegeneration. We also demonstrate that Hsp110 is in complexes with tau, other molecular chaperones, and protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A). Surprisingly, high levels of PP2A remain bound to tau but with significantly reduced activity in brain extracts from aged hsp110(-)(/)(-) mice compared to brain extracts from wild-type mice. Mice deficient in the Hsp110 partner (Hsp70) also exhibit a phenotype comparable to that of hsp110(-)(/)(-) mice, confirming a critical role for Hsp110-Hsp70 in maintaining tau in its unphosphorylated form during aging. In addition, crossing hsp110(-)(/)(-) mice with mice overexpressing mutant APP (APPβsw) leads to selective appearance of insoluble amyloid β42 (Aβ42), suggesting an essential role for Hsp110 in APP processing and Aβ generation. Thus, our findings provide in vivo evidence that Hsp110 plays a critical function in tau phosphorylation state through maintenance of efficient PP2A activity, confirming its role in pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease and other tauopathies.

    Funded by: BLRD VA: I01 BX000161; NCI NIH HHS: CA062130, CA121951, CA132640, R01 CA062130, R01 CA121951, R01 CA132640

    Molecular and cellular biology 2010;30;19;4626-43

  • Loss of tau elicits axonal degeneration in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.

    Dawson HN, Cantillana V, Jansen M, Wang H, Vitek MP, Wilcock DM, Lynch JR and Laskowitz DT

    Division of Neurology, Duke University, Durham, NC 27710, USA. dawso009@mc.duke.edu

    A central issue in the pathogenesis of tauopathy is the question of how tau protein dysfunction leads to neurodegeneration. We have previously demonstrated that the absence of tau protein is associated with destabilization of microtubules and impaired neurite outgrowth (Dawson et al., 2001; Rapoport et al., 2002). We now hypothesize that the absence of functional tau protein may render the central nervous system more vulnerable to secondary insults such as the overexpression of mutated beta amyloid precursor protein (APP) and traumatic brain injury. We therefore crossed tau knockout mice (Dawson et al., 2001) to mice overexpressing a mutated human APP (APP(670,671), A(sw)) (Hsiao et al., 1996) and created a mouse model (A(sw)/mTau(-/-)) that provides evidence that the loss of tau function causes degeneration of neuronal processes. The overexpression of APP(670,671) in tau knockout mice, elicits the extensive formation of axonal spheroids. While spheroids are only found associated with Abeta plaques in mice expressing APP(670,671) on an endogenous mouse tau background (Irizarry et al., 1997), A(sw)/mTau(-/-) mice have spheroids not only surrounding Abeta plaques but also in white matter tracks and in the neuropil. Plaque associated and neuropil dystrophic neurites and spheroids are prominent features of Alzheimer's disease (Masliah et al., 1993; Terry, 1996; Stokin et al., 2005), and our current data suggests that loss of tau function may lead to neurodegeneration.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: K08 AG022230, K08 AG022230-01, K08 AG022230-02, K08 AG022230-03, K08-AG22230-03

    Neuroscience 2010;169;1;516-31

  • Dendritic function of tau mediates amyloid-beta toxicity in Alzheimer's disease mouse models.

    Ittner LM, Ke YD, Delerue F, Bi M, Gladbach A, van Eersel J, Wölfing H, Chieng BC, Christie MJ, Napier IA, Eckert A, Staufenbiel M, Hardeman E and Götz J

    Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease Laboratory, Brain and Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney, Sydney NSW 2050, Australia. littner@med.usyd.edu.au

    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.

    Cell 2010;142;3;387-97

  • A novel transient glutamatergic population migrating from the pallial-subpallial boundary contributes to neocortical development.

    Teissier A, Griveau A, Vigier L, Piolot T, Borello U and Pierani A

    Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique-Unité Mixte de Recherche 7592, Institut Jacques Monod, Université Paris Diderot, 75205 Paris Cedex 13, France.

    The generation of a precise number of neural cells and the determination of their laminar fate are tightly controlled processes during development of the cerebral cortex. Using genetic tracing in mice, we have identified a population of glutamatergic neurons generated by Dbx1-expressing progenitors at the pallial-subpallial boundary predominantly at embryonic day 12.5 (E12.5) and subsequent to Cajal-Retzius cells. We show that these neurons migrate tangentially to populate the cortical plate (CP) at all rostrocaudal and mediolateral levels by E14.5. At birth, they homogeneously populate cortical areas and represent <5% of cortical cells. However, they are distributed into neocortical layers according to their birthdates and express the corresponding markers of glutamatergic differentiation (Tbr1, ER81, Cux2, Ctip2). Notably, this population dies massively by apoptosis at the completion of corticogenesis and represents 50% of dying neurons in the postnatal day 0 cortex. Specific genetic ablation of these transient Dbx1-derived CP neurons leads to a 20% decrease in neocortical cell numbers in perinatal animals. Our results show that a previously unidentified transient population of glutamatergic neurons migrates from extraneocortical regions over long distance from their generation site and participates in neocortical radial growth in a non-cell-autonomous manner.

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2010;30;31;10563-74

  • Deletion of murine tau gene increases tau aggregation in a human mutant tau transgenic mouse model.

    Ando K, Leroy K, Heraud C, Kabova A, Yilmaz Z, Authelet M, Suain V, De Decker R and Brion JP

    Laboratory of Histology, Neuroanatomy and Neuropathology, Université Libre de Bruxelles, 808 route de Lennik, B-1070 Brussels, Belgium. kuniando@ulb.ac.be

    We have reported previously a tau transgenic mouse model (Tg30tau) overexpressing human 4R1N double-mutant tau (P301S and G272V) and that develops AD (Alzheimer's disease)-like NFTs (neurofibrillary tangles) in an age-dependent manner. Since murine tau might interfere with the toxic effects of human mutant tau, we set out to analyse the phenotype of our Tg30tau model in the absence of endogenous murine tau with the aim to reproduce more faithfully a model of human tauopathy. By crossing the Tg30tau line with TauKO (tau-knockout) mice, we have obtained a new mouse line called Tg30xTauKO that expresses only exogenous human double-mutant 4R1N tau. Whereas Tg30xTauKO mice express fewer tau proteins compared with Tg30tau, they exhibit augmented sarkosyl-insoluble tau in the brain and an increased number of Gallyas-positive NFTs in the hippocampus. Taken together, exclusion of murine tau causes accelerated tau aggregation during aging of this mutant tau transgenic model.

    Biochemical Society transactions 2010;38;4;1001-5

  • Tau-tubulin kinase 1 enhances prefibrillar tau aggregation and motor neuron degeneration in P301L FTDP-17 tau-mutant mice.

    Xu J, Sato S, Okuyama S, Swan RJ, Jacobsen MT, Strunk E and Ikezu T

    Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience and Center for Neurodegenerative Disorders, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska 68198-5930, USA.

    Tau-tubulin kinase-1 (TTBK1) phosphorylates microtubule-associated protein tau at specific serine/threonine residues found in paired helical filaments (PHFs), and its expression is up-regulated in the brain in Alzheimer disease, suggesting its role in tauopathy pathogenesis. To understand the effects of TTBK1 on tauopathy in vivo, we have developed bigenic mice overexpressing full-length TTBK1 and the P301L tau mutant. The bigenic mice show enhanced tau phosphorylation at multiple sites (AT8, 12E8, PHF-1, and pS422), tauC3-immunoreactive tau fragmentation, and accumulation of tau aggregates in cortical and hippocampal neurons at 12-13 mo of age. However, the phosphorylated tau aggregates were predominantly sarkosyl soluble and migrated in the light sucrose density fraction after discontinuous sucrose gradient ultracentrifugation, which suggests that they form small oligomers. The bigenic mice show significant locomotor dysfunction as determined by both rotorod and grip strength tests, as well as enhanced loss of motor neurons in the L4-L5 spinal cord. This neuronal dysfunction and degeneration was associated with increased levels of tau oligomers, cyclin-dependent protein kinase 5 activators p35 and p25, and pY216 phosphorylated glycogen synthase kinase 3-beta. These data suggest that TTBK1 up-regulation enhances tau phosphorylation and oligomerization, whose toxicity results in enhanced neurodegeneration and locomotor dysfunction in a tauopathy animal model.

    FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology 2010;24;8;2904-15

  • Cell-mediated neuroprotection in a mouse model of human tauopathy.

    Hampton DW, Webber DJ, Bilican B, Goedert M, Spillantini MG and Chandran S

    Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Research, Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

    Tau protein in a hyperphosphorylated state makes up the intracellular inclusions of several neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease and cases of frontotemporal dementia. Mutations in Tau cause familial forms of frontotemporal dementia, establishing that dysfunction of tau protein is sufficient to cause neurodegeneration and dementia. Transgenic mice expressing human mutant tau in neurons exhibit the essential features of tauopathies, including neurodegeneration and abundant filaments composed of hyperphosphorylated tau. Here we show that a previously described mouse line transgenic for human P301S tau exhibits an age-related, layer-specific loss of superficial cortical neurons, similar to what has been observed in human frontotemporal dementias. We also show that focal neural precursor cell implantation, resulting in glial cell differentiation, leads to the sustained rescue of cortical neurons. Together with evidence indicating that astrocyte transplantation may be neuroprotective, our findings suggest a beneficial role for glial cell-based repair in neurodegenerative diseases.

    Funded by: Medical Research Council

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2010;30;30;9973-83

  • A caspase cleaved form of tau is preferentially degraded through the autophagy pathway.

    Dolan PJ and Johnson GV

    Department of Cell Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama 35294, USA.

    The microtubule-associated protein tau plays a central role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease (AD) and abnormally accumulates as neurofibrillary tangles; therefore, the pathways by which tau is degraded have been examined extensively. In AD brain tau is abnormally truncated at Asp(421) (tauDeltaC), which increases its fibrillogenic properties and results in compromised neuronal function. Given the fact that the accumulation of tauDeltaC is a pathogenic process in AD, in this study we examined whether full-length tau and tauDeltaC are degraded through similar or different mechanisms. To this end a tetracycline-inducible model was used to show that tauDeltaC was degraded significantly faster than full-length tau (FL-tau). Pharmacological inhibition of the proteasome or autophagy pathways demonstrated that although FL-tau is degraded by the proteasome, tauDeltaC is cleared predominantly by macroautophagy. We also found that tauDeltaC binds C terminus of Hsp70-interacting protein more efficiently than tau. This interaction leads to an increased ubiquitylation of tauDeltaC in a reconstituted in vitro assay, but surprisingly, tau (full-length or truncated) was not ubiquitylated in situ. The finding that tauDeltaC and FL-tau are differentially processed by these degradation systems provides important insights for the development of therapeutic strategies, which are focused on modulating degradation systems to preferentially clear pathological forms of the proteins.

    Funded by: NINDS NIH HHS: NS051279, R01 NS051279

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2010;285;29;21978-87

  • Oligemic hypoperfusion differentially affects tau and amyloid-{beta}.

    Koike MA, Green KN, Blurton-Jones M and Laferla FM

    Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders, University of California, Irvine, 3212 Biological Sciences III, Irvine, CA 92697-4545, USA.

    Decreased blood flow to the brain in humans is associated with altered Alzheimer's disease (AD)-related pathology, although the underlying mechanisms by which hypoperfusion influences AD neuropathology remains unknown. To try to address this question, we developed an oligemic model of cerebral hypoperfusion in the 3xTg-AD mouse model of AD. We bilaterally and transiently occluded the common carotid artery and then examined the molecular and cellular pathways by which hypoperfusion influenced tau and amyloid-beta proteins. We report the novel finding that a single, mild, transient hypoperfusion insult acutely increases Abeta levels by enhancing beta-secretase protein expression. In contrast, transient hypoperfusion markedly decreases total tau levels, coincident with activation of macroautophagy and ubiquitin-proteosome pathways. Furthermore, we find that oligemia results in a significant increase specifically in tau phosphorylated at serine(212) and threonine(214), a tau epitope associated with paired helical filaments in AD patients. Despite the mild and transient nature of this hypoperfusion injury, the pattern of decreased total tau, altered phosphorylated tau, and increased amyloid-beta persisted for several weeks postoligemia. Our study indicates that a single, mild, cerebral hypoperfusion event produces profound and long lasting effects on both tau and amyloid-beta. This finding may have implications for the pathogenesis of AD, as it indicates for the first time that total tau and amyloid-beta are differentially impacted by mild hypoperfusion.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: AG-021982, AG-029378, K01 AG029378, K01 AG029378-03, R01 AG021982; NINDS NIH HHS: 1F31NS063650-01A1, F31 NS063650

    The American journal of pathology 2010;177;1;300-10

  • Transgenic mouse and cell culture models demonstrate a lack of mechanistic connection between endoplasmic reticulum stress and tau dysfunction.

    Spatara ML and Robinson AS

    Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA.

    In vivo aggregation of tau protein is a hallmark of many neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's disease (AD). Recent evidence has also demonstrated activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR), a cellular response to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, in AD, although the role of the UPR in disease pathogenesis is not known. Here, three model systems were used to determine whether a direct mechanistic link could be demonstrated between tau aggregation and the UPR. The first model system used was SH-SY5Y cells, a neuronal cultured cell line that endogenously expresses tau. In this system, the UPR was activated using chemical stressors, tunicamycin and thapsigargin, but no changes in tau expression levels, solubility, or phosphorylation were observed. In the second model system, wild-type 4R tau and P301L tau, a variant with increased aggregation propensity, were heterologously overexpressed in HEK 293 cells. This overexpression did not activate the UPR. The last model system examined here was the PS19 transgenic mouse model. Although PS19 mice, which express the P301S variant of tau, display severe neurodegeneration and formation of tau aggregates, brain tissue samples did not show any activation of the UPR. Taken together, the results from these three model systems suggest that a direct mechanistic link does not exist between tau aggregation and the UPR.

    Funded by: NCRR NIH HHS: P20 RR015588; NIA NIH HHS: F33 AG031610; NIGMS NIH HHS: R01 GM075297

    Journal of neuroscience research 2010;88;9;1951-61

  • Tau deficiency leads to the upregulation of BAF-57, a protein involved in neuron-specific gene repression.

    de Barreda EG, Dawson HN, Vitek MP and Avila J

    Centro de Biologi a Molecular Severo Ochoa (CSIC-UAM), Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain.

    Although tau is mainly located in the cell cytoplasm, mostly bound to tubulin, it may also be found in the nucleus of neurons. Hence, we tested whether tau might play a role in regulating the expression of certain genes by comparing gene expression in mice containing or lacking the tau protein. Our results identified a significant difference in the expression of the smarce1 gene, which codes for the BAF-57 protein, a protein involved in the repression of neuron specific genes. These data suggest a role for tau in neuron maturation.

    FEBS letters 2010;584;11;2265-70

  • Increased tau phosphorylation and beta amyloid in the hipocampus of mouse pups by early life lead exposure.

    Li N, Yu ZL, Wang L, Zheng YT, Jia JX, Wang Q, Zhu MJ, Liu XL, Xia X and Li WJ

    Zhengzhou University College of Public Health Zhengzhou 450001 China.

    The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of maternal lead exposure on the learning and memory ability and expression of tau protein phosphorylation (P-tau) and beta amyloid protein (Abeta) in hippocampus of mice offspring. Pb exposure initiated from beginning of gestation to weaning. Pb acetate administered in drinking solutions was dissolved in distilled deionized water at the concentrations of 0.1%, 0.5% and 1% groups. On the 21 th of postnatal day, the learning and memory ability of the mouse pups was tested by Water Maze test and the Pb levels in blood and hippocampus of the offspring were also determined. The expression of P-tau and Abeta in hippocampus was measured by immunohistochemistry and Western blotting. The Pb levels in blood and hippocampus of all exposure groups were significantly higher than that of the control group ( P < 0.05). In Water Maze test, the performances of 0.5% and 1% groups were worse than that of the control group ( P < 0.05). The expression of P-tau and Abeta was increased in Pb exposed groups than that of the control group ( P < 0.05). Tau hyper-phosphorylation and Abeta increase in the hippocampus of pups may contribute to the impairment of learning and memory associated with maternal Pb exposure.

    Acta biologica Hungarica 2010;61;2;123-34

  • Sonic hedgehog expressing and responding cells generate neuronal diversity in the medial amygdala.

    Carney RS, Mangin JM, Hayes L, Mansfield K, Sousa VH, Fishell G, Machold RP, Ahn S, Gallo V and Corbin JG

    Center for Neuroscience Research, Children's Research Institute, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC 20010, USA.

    Background: The mammalian amygdala is composed of two primary functional subdivisions, classified according to whether the major output projection of each nucleus is excitatory or inhibitory. The posterior dorsal and ventral subdivisions of the medial amygdala, which primarily contain inhibitory output neurons, modulate specific aspects of innate socio-sexual and aggressive behaviors. However, the development of the neuronal diversity of this complex and important structure remains to be fully elucidated.

    Results: Using a combination of genetic fate-mapping and loss-of-function analyses, we examined the contribution and function of Sonic hedgehog (Shh)-expressing and Shh-responsive (Nkx2-1+ and Gli1+) neurons in the medial amygdala. Specifically, we found that Shh- and Nkx2-1-lineage cells contribute differentially to the dorsal and ventral subdivisions of the postnatal medial amygdala. These Shh- and Nkx2-1-lineage neurons express overlapping and non-overlapping inhibitory neuronal markers, such as Calbindin, FoxP2, nNOS and Somatostatin, revealing diverse fate contributions in discrete medial amygdala nuclear subdivisions. Electrophysiological analysis of the Shh-derived neurons additionally reveals an important functional diversity within this lineage in the medial amygdala. Moreover, inducible Gli1CreER(T2) temporal fate mapping shows that early-generated progenitors that respond to Shh signaling also contribute to medial amygdala neuronal diversity. Lastly, analysis of Nkx2-1 mutant mice demonstrates a genetic requirement for Nkx2-1 in inhibitory neuronal specification in the medial amygdala distinct from the requirement for Nkx2-1 in cerebral cortical development.

    Conclusions: Taken together, these data reveal a differential contribution of Shh-expressing and Shh-responding cells to medial amygdala neuronal diversity as well as the function of Nkx2-1 in the development of this important limbic system structure.

    Neural development 2010;5;14

  • Profile for amyloid-beta and tau expression in primary cortical cultures from 3xTg-AD mice.

    Vale C, Alonso E, Rubiolo JA, Vieytes MR, LaFerla FM, Giménez-Llort L and Botana LM

    Departamento de Farmacología, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, 27003, Lugo, Spain.

    Advances in transgenic technology as well as in the genetics of Alzheimer disease (AD) have allowed the establishment of animal models that reproduce amyloid-beta plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, the main pathological hallmarks of AD. Among these models, 3xTg-AD mice harboring PS1 (M146V), APP (Swe) and tau (P301L) human transgenes provided the model that most closely mimics human AD features. Although cortical cultures from 3xTg-AD mice have been shown to present disturbances in intracellular [Ca(2+)] homeostasis, the development of AD pathology in vitro has not been previously evaluated. In the current work, we determined the temporal profile for amyloid precursor protein, amyloid-beta and tau expression in primary cortical cultures from 3xTg-AD mice. Immunocytochemistry and Western blot analysis showed an increased expression of these proteins as well as several phosphorylated tau isoforms with time in culture. Alterations in calcium homeostasis and cholinergic and glutamatergic responses were also observed early in vitro. Thus, 3x-TgAD cortical neurons in vitro provide an exceptional tool to investigate pharmacological approaches as well as the cellular basis for AD and related diseases.

    Cellular and molecular neurobiology 2010;30;4;577-90

  • Control of postnatal apoptosis in the neocortex by RhoA-subfamily GTPases determines neuronal density.

    Sanno H, Shen X, Kuru N, Bormuth I, Bobsin K, Gardner HA, Komljenovic D, Tarabykin V, Erzurumlu RS and Tucker KL

    Interdisciplinary Center for Neurosciences and Institute of Anatomy, University of Heidelberg, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany.

    Apoptosis of neurons in the maturing neocortex has been recorded in a wide variety of mammals, but very little is known about its effects on cortical differentiation. Recent research has implicated the RhoA GTPase subfamily in the control of apoptosis in the developing nervous system and in other tissue types. Rho GTPases are important components of the signaling pathways linking extracellular signals to the cytoskeleton. To investigate the role of the RhoA GTPase subfamily in neocortical apoptosis and differentiation, we have engineered a mouse line in which a dominant-negative RhoA mutant (N19-RhoA) is expressed from the Mapt locus, such that all neurons of the developing nervous system are expressing the N19-RhoA inhibitor. Postnatal expression of N19-RhoA led to no major changes in neocortical anatomy. Six layers of the neocortex developed and barrels (whisker-related neural modules) formed in layer IV. However, the density and absolute number of neurons in the somatosensory cortex increased by 12-26% compared with wild-type littermates. This was not explained by a change in the migration of neurons during the formation of cortical layers but rather by a large decrease in the amount of neuronal apoptosis at postnatal day 5, the developmental maximum of cortical apoptosis. In addition, overexpression of RhoA in cortical neurons was seen to cause high levels of apoptosis. These results demonstrate that RhoA-subfamily members play a major role in developmental apoptosis in postnatal neocortex of the mouse but that decreased apoptosis does not alter cortical cytoarchitecture and patterning.

    Funded by: NINDS NIH HHS: NS039050, R01 NS039050, R01 NS039050-10, R01 NS039050-12

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2010;30;12;4221-31

  • Genetic dissection of the function of hindbrain axonal commissures.

    Renier N, Schonewille M, Giraudet F, Badura A, Tessier-Lavigne M, Avan P, De Zeeuw CI and Chédotal A

    INSERM, U968, Paris, F-75012, France.

    In Bilateria, many axons cross the midline of the central nervous system, forming well-defined commissures. Whereas in mammals the functions of commissures in the forebrain and in the visual system are well established, functions at other axial levels are less clearly understood. Here, we have dissected the function of several hindbrain commissures using genetic methods. By taking advantage of multiple Cre transgenic lines, we have induced site-specific deletions of the Robo3 receptor. These lines developed with the disruption of specific commissures in the sensory, motor, and sensorimotor systems, resulting in severe and permanent functional deficits. We show that mice with severely reduced commissures in rhombomeres 5 and 3 have abnormal lateral eye movements and auditory brainstem responses, respectively, whereas mice with a primarily uncrossed climbing fiber/Purkinje cell projection are strongly ataxic. Surprisingly, although rerouted axons remain ipsilateral, they still project to their appropriate neuronal targets. Moreover, some Cre;Robo3 lines represent potential models that can be used to study human syndromes, including horizontal gaze palsy with progressive scoliosis (HGPPS). To our knowledge, this study is one of the first to link defects in commissural axon guidance with specific cellular and behavioral phenotypes.

    PLoS biology 2010;8;3;e1000325

  • Tau-knockout mice show reduced GSK3-induced hippocampal degeneration and learning deficits.

    Gómez de Barreda E, Pérez M, Gómez Ramos P, de Cristobal J, Martín-Maestro P, Morán A, Dawson HN, Vitek MP, Lucas JJ, Hernández F and Avila J

    Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa, C/Nicolás Cabrera, 1. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Campus Cantoblanco. 28049 Madrid, Spain.

    It has been proposed that deregulation of neuronal glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3) activity may be a key feature in Alzheimer disease pathogenesis. We have previously generated transgenic mice that overexpress GSK3beta in forebrain regions including dentate gyrus (DG), a region involved in learning and memory acquisition. We have found that GSK3 overexpression results in DG degeneration. To test whether tau protein modified by GSK3 plays a role in that neurodegeneration, we have brought GSK3 overexpressing mice to a tau knockout background. Our results indicate that the toxic effect of GSK3 overexpression is milder and slower in the absence of tau. Thus, we suggest that the hyperphosphorylated tau mediates, at least in part, the pathology observed in the brain of GSK3 overexpressing mice.

    Neurobiology of disease 2010;37;3;622-9

  • Alzheimer Abeta peptide induces chromosome mis-segregation and aneuploidy, including trisomy 21: requirement for tau and APP.

    Granic A, Padmanabhan J, Norden M and Potter H

    Eric Pfeiffer Suncoast Alzheimer's Center, University of South Florida, Tampa FL, 33613, USA.

    Both sporadic and familial Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients exhibit increased chromosome aneuploidy, particularly trisomy 21, in neurons and other cells. Significantly, trisomy 21/Down syndrome patients develop early onset AD pathology. We investigated the mechanism underlying mosaic chromosome aneuploidy in AD and report that FAD mutations in the Alzheimer Amyloid Precursor Protein gene, APP, induce chromosome mis-segregation and aneuploidy in transgenic mice and in transfected cells. Furthermore, adding synthetic Abeta peptide, the pathogenic product of APP, to cultured cells causes rapid and robust chromosome mis-segregation leading to aneuploid, including trisomy 21, daughters, which is prevented by LiCl addition or Ca(2+) chelation and is replicated in tau KO cells, implicating GSK-3beta, calpain, and Tau-dependent microtubule transport in the aneugenic activity of Abeta. Furthermore, APP KO cells are resistant to the aneugenic activity of Abeta, as they have been shown previously to be resistant to Abeta-induced tau phosphorylation and cell toxicity. These results indicate that Abeta-induced microtubule dysfunction leads to aneuploid neurons and may thereby contribute to the pathogenesis of AD.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: AG25711, P50 AG025711

    Molecular biology of the cell 2010;21;4;511-20

  • Degenerative abnormalities in transgenic neocortical neuropeptide Y interneurons expressing tau-green fluorescent protein.

    Rancillac A, Lainé J, Perrenoud Q, Geoffroy H, Ferezou I, Vitalis T and Rossier J

    Laboratoire de Neurobiologie, CNRS UMR 7637, ESPCI ParisTech, Paris, France.

    The introduction of a reporter gene into bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) constructs allows a rapid identification of the cell type expressing the gene of interest. Here we used BAC transgenic mice expressing a tau-sapphire green fluorescent protein (GFP) under the transcriptional control of the neuropeptide Y (NPY) genomic sequence to characterize morphological and electrophysiological properties of NPY-GFP interneurons of the mouse juvenile primary somatosensory cortex. Electrophysiological whole-cell recordings and biocytin injections were performed to allow the morphological reconstruction of the recorded neurons in three dimensions. Ninety-six recorded NPY-GFP interneurons were compared with 39 wild-type (WT) NPY interneurons, from which 23 and 19 were reconstructed, respectively. We observed that 91% of the reconstructed NPY-GFP interneurons had developed an atypical axonal swelling from which emerge numerous ramifications. These abnormalities were very heterogeneous in shape and size. They were immunoreactive for the microtubule-associated protein tau and the lysosomal-associated membrane protein 1 (LAMP1). Moreover, an electron microscopic analysis revealed the accumulation of numerous autophagic and lysosomal vacuoles in swollen axons. Morphological analyses of NPY-GFP interneurons also indicated that their somata were smaller, their entire dendritic tree was thickened and presented a restricted spatial distribution in comparison with WT NPY interneurons. Finally, the morphological defects observed in NPY-GFP interneurons appeared to be associated with alterations of their electrophysiological intrinsic properties. Altogether, these results demonstrate that NPY-GFP interneurons developed dystrophic axonal swellings and severe morphological and electrophysiological defects that could be due to the overexpression of tau-coupled reporter constructs.

    Journal of neuroscience research 2010;88;3;487-99

  • Global deprivation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the CNS reveals an area-specific requirement for dendritic growth.

    Rauskolb S, Zagrebelsky M, Dreznjak A, Deogracias R, Matsumoto T, Wiese S, Erne B, Sendtner M, Schaeren-Wiemers N, Korte M and Barde YA

    Biozentrum, University of Basel, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland.

    Although brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is linked with an increasing number of conditions causing brain dysfunction, its role in the postnatal CNS has remained difficult to assess. This is because the bdnf-null mutation causes the death of the animals before BDNF levels have reached adult levels. In addition, the anterograde axonal transport of BDNF complicates the interpretation of area-specific gene deletion. The present study describes the generation of a new conditional mouse mutant essentially lacking BDNF throughout the CNS. It shows that BDNF is not essential for prolonged postnatal survival, but that the behavior of such mutant animals is markedly altered. It also reveals that BDNF is not a major survival factor for most CNS neurons and for myelination of their axons. However, it is required for the postnatal growth of the striatum, and single-cell analyses revealed a marked decreased in dendritic complexity and spine density. In contrast, BDNF is dispensable for the growth of the hippocampus and only minimal changes were observed in the dendrites of CA1 pyramidal neurons in mutant animals. Spine density remained unchanged, whereas the proportion of the mushroom-type spine was moderately decreased. In line with these in vivo observations, we found that BDNF markedly promotes the growth of cultured striatal neurons and of their dendrites, but not of those of hippocampal neurons, suggesting that the differential responsiveness to BDNF is part of a neuron-intrinsic program.

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2010;30;5;1739-49

  • Epibranchial ganglia orchestrate the development of the cranial neurogenic crest.

    Coppola E, Rallu M, Richard J, Dufour S, Riethmacher D, Guillemot F, Goridis C and Brunet JF

    Institut de Biologie de l'Ecole Normale Supérieure, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique UMR8197, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale U1024, 75005 Paris, France.

    The wiring of the nervous system arises from extensive directional migration of neuronal cell bodies and growth of processes that, somehow, end up forming functional circuits. Thus far, this feat of biological engineering appears to rely on sequences of pathfinding decisions upon local cues, each with little relationship to the anatomical and physiological outcome. Here, we uncover a straightforward cellular mechanism for circuit building whereby a neuronal type directs the development of its future partners. We show that visceral afferents of the head (that innervate taste buds) provide a scaffold for the establishment of visceral efferents (that innervate salivatory glands and blood vessels). In embryological terms, sensory neurons derived from an epibranchial placode--that we show to develop largely independently from the neural crest--guide the directional outgrowth of hindbrain visceral motoneurons and control the formation of neural crest-derived parasympathetic ganglia.

    Funded by: Medical Research Council: MC_U117570528

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2010;107;5;2066-71

  • VGLUT2 in dopamine neurons is required for psychostimulant-induced behavioral activation.

    Birgner C, Nordenankar K, Lundblad M, Mendez JA, Smith C, le Grevès M, Galter D, Olson L, Fredriksson A, Trudeau LE, Kullander K and Wallén-Mackenzie A

    Unit of Developmental Genetics, Department of Neuroscience, Uppsala University, S-751 24 Uppsala, Sweden.

    The "One neuron-one neurotransmitter" concept has been challenged frequently during the last three decades, and the coexistence of neurotransmitters in individual neurons is now regarded as a common phenomenon. The functional significance of neurotransmitter coexistence is, however, less well understood. Several studies have shown that a subpopulation of dopamine (DA) neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) expresses the vesicular glutamate transporter 2 (VGLUT2) and has been suggested to use glutamate as a cotransmitter. The VTA dopamine neurons project to limbic structures including the nucleus accumbens, and are involved in mediating the motivational and locomotor activating effects of psychostimulants. To determine the functional role of glutamate cotransmission by these neurons, we deleted VGLUT2 in DA neurons by using a conditional gene-targeting approach in mice. A DAT-Cre/Vglut2Lox mouse line (Vglut2(f/f;DAT-Cre) mice) was produced and analyzed by in vivo amperometry as well as by several behavioral paradigms. Although basal motor function was normal in the Vglut2(f/f;DAT-Cre) mice, their risk-taking behavior was altered. Interestingly, in both home-cage and novel environments, the gene targeted mice showed a greatly blunted locomotor response to the psychostimulant amphetamine, which acts via the midbrain DA system. Our results show that VGLUT2 expression in DA neurons is required for normal emotional reactivity as well as for psychostimulant-mediated behavioral activation.

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2010;107;1;389-94

  • Deletion of tau attenuates heat shock-induced injury in cultured cortical neurons.

    Miao Y, Chen J, Zhang Q and Sun A

    Institute of Neurobiology, Fudan University, Shanghai, People's Republic of China. yymiao@fudan.edu.cn

    The microtubule-associated protein tau has been implicated in beta-amyloid- and glutamate-induced neurotoxicity. However, the potential role of tau in response to other insults to neurons remains unclear. In this study, we examined whether deletion of tau would change cell injury induced by heat shock in primary cultures of cortical neurons. After 30 min of a 45 degrees C heat shock, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release increased, reaching a peak at 6 hr in wild-type (WT) neurons. A significantly lower LDH release, with a peak delayed by 24 hr, was detected in tau knockout (TKO) neurons. After heat shock treatment, MAP-2 and tubulin staining of the processes of WT neurons revealed more dramatic abnormalities than in TKO neurons. Both WT and TKO neurons exhibited a similar elevation of HSP70 level but different time courses of Akt phosphorylation. In contrast to an early, brief response in WT neurons, TKO neurons displayed a late, but long-lasting increase in phosphorylation of Akt and its downstream target, glycogen synthase kinase 3beta. Additionally, inhibition of Akt activity aggravated the cell morbidity caused by heat shock exposure in both WT and TKO neurons, indicating a protective role of Akt against cell injury. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that deletion of tau attenuated heat shock-induced neuronal injury. Enhanced Akt response in the absence of endogenous tau is suggested to represent a compensatory mechanism for regulating cell reactions to stress stimuli.

    Journal of neuroscience research 2010;88;1;102-10

  • Tau protein role in sleep-wake cycle.

    Cantero JL, Hita-Yañez E, Moreno-Lopez B, Portillo F, Rubio A and Avila J

    Laboratory of Functional Neuroscience, Spanish Network of Excellence for Research on Neurodegenerative Diseases (CIBERNED), University Pablo de Olavide, Seville, Spain. jlcanlor@upo.es

    Evidence has shown that the lack of tau produces subtle changes in neuronal structure and modest impairment in complex behaviors, suggesting compensatory mechanisms carried out by other neuronal microtubule-associated proteins. Here we show major abnormalities in sleep-wake cycle of tau-deficient animals including increased wakefulness duration and decreased non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep time, a higher number of state transitions between NREM and wake, and shortened sleep bouts. Altered sleep structure in tau-/- mice was accompanied by a significant decline in delta power together with an enhanced spectral density of sleep spindles during NREM sleep. No significant differences were observed in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep between the two mouse strains. Taken together, these results suggest that tau indirectly participates in the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle modulating not only the control and maintenance of global brain states but also the cerebral oscillatory patterns underlying sleep-wake states.

    Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD 2010;21;2;411-21

  • Excitatory neurons of the proprioceptive, interoceptive, and arousal hindbrain networks share a developmental requirement for Math1.

    Rose MF, Ahmad KA, Thaller C and Zoghbi HY

    Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.

    Hindbrain networks important for sensation and arousal contain diverse neuronal populations with distinct projections, yet share specific characteristics such as neurotransmitter expression. The relationship between the function of these neurons, their developmental origin, and the timing of their migration remains unclear. Mice lacking the proneural transcription factor Math1 (Atoh1) lose neurons essential for hearing, balance, and unconscious proprioception. By using a new, inducible Math1(Cre*PR) allele, we found that Math1 is also required for the conscious proprioceptive system, including excitatory projection neurons of the dorsal column nuclei and for vital components of the interoceptive system, such as Barrington's nucleus, that is closely associated with arousal. In addition to specific networks, Math1 lineages shared specific neurotransmitter expression, including glutamate, acetylcholine, somatostatin, corticotropin releasing hormone, and nitric oxide. These findings identify twenty novel Math1 lineages and indicate that the Math1 network functions partly as an interface for conscious (early-born) and unconscious (late-born) proprioceptive inputs to the cortex and cerebellum, respectively. In addition, these data provide previously unsuspected genetic and developmental links between proprioception, interoception, hearing, and arousal.

    Funded by: Howard Hughes Medical Institute; NICHD NIH HHS: K12 HD000850, P30 HD024064; NINDS NIH HHS: F31 NS051046

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2009;106;52;22462-7

  • Molecular identification of rapidly adapting mechanoreceptors and their developmental dependence on ret signaling.

    Luo W, Enomoto H, Rice FL, Milbrandt J and Ginty DD

    Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205-2185, USA.

    In mammals, the first step in the perception of form and texture is the activation of trigeminal or dorsal root ganglion (DRG) mechanosensory neurons, which are classified as either rapidly (RA) or slowly adapting (SA) according to their rates of adaptation to sustained stimuli. The molecular identities and mechanisms of development of RA and SA mechanoreceptors are largely unknown. We found that the "early Ret(+)" DRG neurons are RA mechanoreceptors, which form Meissner corpuscles, Pacinian corpuscles, and longitudinal lanceolate endings. The central projections of these RA mechanoreceptors innervate layers III through V of the spinal cord and terminate within discrete subdomains of the dorsal column nuclei. Moreover, mice lacking Ret signaling components are devoid of Pacinian corpuscles and exhibit a dramatic disruption of RA mechanoreceptor projections to both the spinal cord and medulla. Thus, the early Ret(+) neurons are RA mechanoreceptors and Ret signaling is required for the assembly of neural circuits underlying touch perception.

    Funded by: Howard Hughes Medical Institute; NIA NIH HHS: AG13730, R01 AG013730; NINDS NIH HHS: NS34814, R01 NS034814, R37 NS034814

    Neuron 2009;64;6;841-56

  • A cluster of cholinergic premotor interneurons modulates mouse locomotor activity.

    Zagoraiou L, Akay T, Martin JF, Brownstone RM, Jessell TM and Miles GB

    Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Kavli Institute for Brain Science, Department of Neuroscience, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.

    Mammalian motor programs are controlled by networks of spinal interneurons that set the rhythm and intensity of motor neuron firing. Motor neurons have long been known to receive prominent "C bouton" cholinergic inputs from spinal interneurons, but the source and function of these synaptic inputs have remained obscure. We show here that the transcription factor Pitx2 marks a small cluster of spinal cholinergic interneurons, V0(C) neurons, that represents the sole source of C bouton inputs to motor neurons. The activity of these cholinergic interneurons is tightly phase locked with motor neuron bursting during fictive locomotor activity, suggesting a role in the modulation of motor neuron firing frequency. Genetic inactivation of the output of these neurons impairs a locomotor task-dependent increase in motor neuron firing and muscle activation. Thus, V0(C) interneurons represent a defined class of spinal cholinergic interneurons with an intrinsic neuromodulatory role in the control of locomotor behavior.

    Funded by: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council: BB/E019803/1; Canadian Institutes of Health Research: 74633; Howard Hughes Medical Institute; NIDCR NIH HHS: DE16329, R01 DE/HD12324, R01 DE016329; NINDS NIH HHS: R01 NS033245, R01 NS033245-16, R01 NS33245; Wellcome Trust

    Neuron 2009;64;5;645-62

  • Increased tau phosphorylation and cleavage in mouse models of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

    Kim B, Backus C, Oh S, Hayes JM and Feldman EL

    Department of Neurology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2200, USA. bhumsoo@umich.edu

    As the population of the United States ages, the incidence of age-related neurodegenerative and systemic diseases including Alzheimer's disease (AD) and diabetes is increasing rapidly. Multiple studies report that patients with diabetes have a 50-75% increased risk of developing AD compared with age- and gender-matched patients without diabetes. Abnormally phosphorylated tau is a major building block of neurofibrillary tangles, a classic neuropathological characteristic of AD. In addition, proteolytic tau cleavage promotes AD progression due to cleaved tau serving as a nucleation center for the pathological assembly of tau filaments. The current study examines tau modification in type 1 (streptozotocin-injected) and type 2 (db/db) mouse models of diabetes. Tau phosphorylation is increased in the cortex and hippocampus of db/db mice compared with db+ control mouse brain. Interestingly, there is an age-dependent increase in tau cleavage that is not observed in age-matched control db+ animals. Streptozotocin injection also increased tau phosphorylation; however, the increase was less significant compared with the type 2 mouse model, and more importantly, no tau cleavage was detected. Our results suggest tau modification caused by insulin dysfunction and hyperglycemia may contribute to the increased incidence of AD in diabetes. We hypothesize that type 1 and type 2 diabetes may contribute to AD through different mechanisms; in type 2 diabetes, hyperglycemia-mediated tau cleavage may be the key feature, whereas insulin deficiency may be the major contributing factor in type 1 diabetes.

    Funded by: NIDDK NIH HHS: NIH 5P60-DK020572, P60 DK020572, U01 DK076160, U01-DK076160

    Endocrinology 2009;150;12;5294-301

  • Defective respiratory rhythmogenesis and loss of central chemosensitivity in Phox2b mutants targeting retrotrapezoid nucleus neurons.

    Dubreuil V, Thoby-Brisson M, Rallu M, Persson K, Pattyn A, Birchmeier C, Brunet JF, Fortin G and Goridis C

    Département de Biologie, Ecole normale supérieure, 75005 Paris, France.

    The retrotrapezoid nucleus (RTN) is a group of neurons in the rostral medulla, defined here as Phox2b-, Vglut2-, neurokinin1 receptor-, and Atoh1-expressing cells in the parafacial region, which have been proposed to function both as generators of respiratory rhythm and as central respiratory chemoreceptors. The present study was undertaken to assess these two putative functions using genetic tools. We generated two conditional Phox2b mutations, which target different subsets of Phox2b-expressing cells, but have in common a massive depletion of RTN neurons. In both conditional mutants as well as in the previously described Phox2b(27Ala) mutants, in which the RTN is also compromised, the respiratory-like rhythmic activity normally seen in the parafacial region of fetal brainstem preparations was completely abrogated. Rhythmic motor bursts were recorded from the phrenic nerve roots in the mutants, but their frequency was markedly reduced. Both the rhythmic activity in the RTN region and the phrenic nerve discharges responded to a low pH challenge in control, but not in the mutant embryos. Together, our results provide genetic evidence for the essential role of the Phox2b-expressing RTN neurons both in establishing a normal respiratory rhythm before birth and in providing chemosensory drive.

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2009;29;47;14836-46

  • Amyloid-beta and tau synergistically impair the oxidative phosphorylation system in triple transgenic Alzheimer's disease mice.

    Rhein V, Song X, Wiesner A, Ittner LM, Baysang G, Meier F, Ozmen L, Bluethmann H, Dröse S, Brandt U, Savaskan E, Czech C, Götz J and Eckert A

    Neurobiology Laboratory for Brain Aging and Mental Health, Psychiatric University Clinics, University of Basel, 4025 Basel, Switzerland.

    Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by amyloid-beta (Abeta)-containing plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, and neuron and synapse loss. Tangle formation has been reproduced in P301L tau transgenic pR5 mice, whereas APP(sw)PS2(N141I) double-transgenic APP152 mice develop Abeta plaques. Cross-breeding generates triple transgenic ((triple)AD) mice that combine both pathologies in one model. To determine functional consequences of the combined Abeta and tau pathologies, we performed a proteomic analysis followed by functional validation. Specifically, we obtained vesicular preparations from (triple)AD mice, the parental strains, and nontransgenic mice, followed by the quantitative mass-tag labeling proteomic technique iTRAQ and mass spectrometry. Within 1,275 quantified proteins, we found a massive deregulation of 24 proteins, of which one-third were mitochondrial proteins mainly related to complexes I and IV of the oxidative phosphorylation system (OXPHOS). Notably, deregulation of complex I was tau dependent, whereas deregulation of complex IV was Abeta dependent, both at the protein and activity levels. Synergistic effects of Abeta and tau were evident in 8-month-old (triple)AD mice as only they showed a reduction of the mitochondrial membrane potential at this early age. At the age of 12 months, the strongest defects on OXPHOS, synthesis of ATP, and reactive oxygen species were exhibited in the (triple)AD mice, again emphasizing synergistic, age-associated effects of Abeta and tau in perishing mitochondria. Our study establishes a molecular link between Abeta and tau protein in AD pathology in vivo, illustrating the potential of quantitative proteomics.

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2009;106;47;20057-62

  • Developmental expression of prion protein and its ligands stress-inducible protein 1 and vitronectin.

    Hajj GN, Santos TG, Cook ZS and Martins VR

    Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, São Paulo 01323-903, Brazil.

    Prion protein (PrP(C)) is the normal isoform of PrP(Sc), a protein involved in neurodegenerative disorders. PrP(C) participates in neuritogenesis, neuroprotection, and memory consolidation through its interaction with the secreted protein stress-inducible protein 1 (STI1) and the extracellular matrix protein vitronectin (Vn). Although PrP(C) mRNA expression has been documented during embryogenesis, its protein expression patterns have not been evaluated. Furthermore, little is known about either Vn or STI protein expression. In this study, PrP(C), STI1, and Vn protein expression was explored throughout mouse embryonic life. We found that the distributions of the three proteins were spatiotemporally related. STI1 and Vn expression became evident at E8, earlier than PrP(C), in the nervous system and heart. At E10, we observed, in the spinal cord, a gradient of expression of the three proteins, more abundant in the notochord and floor plate, suggesting that they can have a role in axonal growth. As development proceeded, the three proteins were detected in other organs, suggesting that they may play a role in the development of nonneural tissues as well. Finally, although STI1 and Vn are PrP(C) ligands, their expression was not altered in PrP(C)-null mice.

    Funded by: Howard Hughes Medical Institute

    The Journal of comparative neurology 2009;517;3;371-84

  • Math1 is essential for the development of hindbrain neurons critical for perinatal breathing.

    Rose MF, Ren J, Ahmad KA, Chao HT, Klisch TJ, Flora A, Greer JJ and Zoghbi HY

    Program in Developmental Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.

    Mice lacking the proneural transcription factor Math1 (Atoh1) lack multiple neurons of the proprioceptive and arousal systems and die shortly after birth from an apparent inability to initiate respiration. We sought to determine whether Math1 was necessary for the development of hindbrain nuclei involved in respiratory rhythm generation, such as the parafacial respiratory group/retrotrapezoid nucleus (pFRG/RTN), defects in which are associated with congenital central hypoventilation syndrome (CCHS). We generated a Math1-GFP fusion allele to trace the development of Math1-expressing pFRG/RTN and paratrigeminal neurons and found that loss of Math1 did indeed disrupt their migration and differentiation. We also identified Math1-dependent neurons and their projections near the pre-Bötzinger complex, a structure critical for respiratory rhythmogenesis, and found that glutamatergic modulation reestablished a rhythm in the absence of Math1. This study identifies Math1-dependent neurons that are critical for perinatal breathing that may link proprioception and arousal with respiration.

    Funded by: Howard Hughes Medical Institute; NICHD NIH HHS: HD024064, K12 HD000850, K12 HD000850-24, K12-HD000850, P30 HD024064, P30 HD024064-21; NIMH NIH HHS: 1F31-MH078678, F31 MH078678, F31 MH078678-02; NINDS NIH HHS: 5F31-NS051046, F31 NS051046, F31 NS051046-01

    Neuron 2009;64;3;341-54

  • The distribution and characterization of endogenous protein arginine N-methyltransferase 8 in mouse CNS.

    Kousaka A, Mori Y, Koyama Y, Taneda T, Miyata S and Tohyama M

    Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, Graduate School of Medicine, The Osaka-Hamamatsu Joint Research Center for Child Mental Development, Osaka University, 2-2 Yamadaoka, Suita City, Osaka, Japan.

    Protein arginine N-methyltransferase (PRMT) 8 was first discovered from a database search for genes harboring four conserved methyltransferase motifs, which shares more than 80% homology to PRMT1 in amino acid [Lee J, Sayegh J, Daniel J, Clarke S, Bedford MT (2005) PRMT8, a new membrane-bound tissue-specific member of the protein arginine methyltransferase family. J Biol Chem 280:32890-32896]. Interestingly, its tissue distribution is strikingly restricted to mouse CNS. To characterize the function in the CNS neurons, we raised an antiserum against PRMT8 to perform immunohistochemistry (IHC) and Western blot analysis. By IHC, the immunoreactivity of endogenous PRMT8 was broadly distributed in the CNS neurons with markedly intense signals in the cerebellum, hippocampal formation, and cortex, but was not detected in the cerebellar granular layer. In some subset of the neurons, the immunoreactivity was observed in the dendrites and axon bundles. The subcellular localization of the immunoreactivity was dominantly nuclear, arguing against the original report that exogenously expressed PRMT8 localizes to the plasma membrane via the N-terminal myristoylation. A series of the exogenously expressed proteins with different in-frame translation initiation codons was tested for comparison with the endogenous protein in molecular size. The third initiator codon produced the protein that was equivalent in size to the endogenous and showed a similar localizing pattern in PC12 cells. In conclusion, PRMT8 is a neuron-specific nuclear enzyme and the N-terminus does not contain the glycine end for myristoylation target.

    Neuroscience 2009;163;4;1146-57

  • Beta-amyloid overload does not directly correlate with SAPK/JNK activation and tau protein phosphorylation in the cerebellar cortex of Ts65Dn mice.

    Lomoio S, Scherini E and Necchi D

    Dipartimento di Biologia Animale, Laboratorio di Biologia Cellulare e Neurobiologia, Università di Pavia, piazza Botta 10, 27100 Pavia, Italy.

    It is known that in the nervous tissue beta-amyloid overproduction and its extracellular or intracellular deposition can activate mitogen-activated protein kinases involved in tau protein phosphorylation. Hyperphosphorylated tau is not more able to bind neuron microtubules, leading to their disassembly and axon degeneration. We have previously described that at 10 months of age in the cerebellum of Ts65Dn mice, which are partially trisomic for the chromosome 16 and are considered a valuable model for Down syndrome, Purkinje cells undergo axon degeneration. Taking into consideration that Ts65Dn mice carry three copies of the gene encoding for the amyloid precursor protein, to characterize potential signaling events triggering the degenerative phenomenon, specific antibodies were used to examine the role of beta-amyloid overload in the activation of the stress activated kinase/c-jun N-terminal kinase (SAPK/JNK) and tau protein phosphorylation in the cerebellar cortex of 12-month-old Ts65Dn mice. We found small extracellular deposits of beta-amyloid at the borderline between the granule cell layer and the white matter, i.e., in the vicinity of the area where calbindin immunostaining of Purkinje cell axons revealed clusters of newly formed terminals of injured axons. Moreover, intracellular deposits were present in the somata of Purkinje cells. The level of activation of SAPK/JNK was greatly increased. The activation occurred in the "pinceaux" made by basket interneuron axons at the axon hillock of Purkinje cells. Antibody directed against tau protein phosphorylated at Ser-396/Ser-404 revealed positive NG2 cells and Bergman fibers in the molecular layer and oligodendrocytes in the white matter. Data indicate that beta-amyloid extracellular deposits could have exerted a local cytotoxic effect, leading to Purkinje cell axon degeneration. The activation of SAPK/JNK in basket cell "pinceaux" may be a consequence of altered functionality of Purkinje cells and may represent an attempt of basket cells of synaptic remodeling. Moreover, the findings for tau protein phosphorylation suggest that Ts65Dn mice are affected by a cerebellar glial tauopathy.

    Brain research 2009;1297;198-206

  • High levels of Id1 expression define B1 type adult neural stem cells.

    Nam HS and Benezra R

    Sloan-Kettering Memorial Cancer Center, Sloan-Kettering Institute, New York, NY 10065, USA. hyn2001@med.cornell.edu

    Defining the molecular identity of stem cells may be critical for formulating a rational strategy for the therapeutic intervention of stem cell dysfunction. We find that high expression of Id1, a dominant-negative helix-loop-helix transcriptional regulator, identifies a rare population of GFAP(+) astrocytes with stem cell attributes among the subventricular astrocytes in the adult brain. The rare, long-lived, and relatively quiescent Id1(high) astrocytes with morphology characteristic of B1 type astrocytes self-renew and generate migratory neuroblasts that differentiate into olfactory bulb interneurons. Cultured Id1(high) neural stem cells can self-renew asymmetrically and generate a stem and a differentiated cell expressing progressively lower levels of Id1, revealing an Id1 gradient in unperturbed cells of subventricular neurogenic lineages. Moreover, Id genes are necessary to confer self-renewal capacity, a characteristic of stem cell identity. We suggest that high expression of a single transcriptional regulator, Id1, molecularly defines the long-sought-after B1 type adult neural stem cells.

    Funded by: NCI NIH HHS: R01 CA107429-05; NIDCD NIH HHS: F30DC008707; NIGMS NIH HHS: T32GM07739

    Cell stem cell 2009;5;5;515-26

  • Tau fragmentation, aggregation and clearance: the dual role of lysosomal processing.

    Wang Y, Martinez-Vicente M, Krüger U, Kaushik S, Wong E, Mandelkow EM, Cuervo AM and Mandelkow E

    Max-Planck-Unit for Structural Molecular Biology, Notkestrasse 85, 22607 Hamburg, Germany.

    Aggregation and cleavage are two hallmarks of Tau pathology in Alzheimer disease (AD), and abnormal fragmentation of Tau is thought to contribute to the nucleation of Tau paired helical filaments. Clearance of the abnormally modified protein could occur by the ubiquitin-proteasome and autophagy-lysosomal pathways, the two major routes for protein degradation in cells. There is a debate on which of these pathways contributes to clearance of Tau protein and of the abnormal Tau aggregates formed in AD. Here, we demonstrate in an inducible neuronal cell model of tauopathy that the autophagy-lysosomal system contributes to both Tau fragmentation into pro-aggregating forms and to clearance of Tau aggregates. Inhibition of macroautophagy enhances Tau aggregation and cytotoxicity. The Tau repeat domain can be cleaved near the N terminus by a cytosolic protease to generate the fragment F1. Additional cleavage near the C terminus by the lysosomal protease cathepsin L is required to generate Tau fragments F2 and F3 that are highly amyloidogenic and capable of seeding the aggregation of Tau. We identify in this work that components of a selective form of autophagy, chaperone-mediated autophagy, are involved in the delivery of cytosolic Tau to lysosomes for this limited cleavage. However, F1 does not fully enter the lysosome but remains associated with the lysosomal membrane. Inefficient translocation of the Tau fragments across the lysosomal membrane seems to promote formation of Tau oligomers at the surface of these organelles which may act as precursors of aggregation and interfere with lysosomal functioning.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: AG031782; NINDS NIH HHS: NS038370

    Human molecular genetics 2009;18;21;4153-70

  • Stringent specificity in the construction of a GABAergic presynaptic inhibitory circuit.

    Betley JN, Wright CV, Kawaguchi Y, Erdélyi F, Szabó G, Jessell TM and Kaltschmidt JA

    Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Kavli Institute of Brain Science, Departments of Neuroscience, Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.

    GABAergic interneurons are key elements in neural coding, but the mechanisms that assemble inhibitory circuits remain unclear. In the spinal cord, the transfer of sensory signals to motor neurons is filtered by GABAergic interneurons that act presynaptically to inhibit sensory transmitter release and postsynaptically to inhibit motor neuron excitability. We show here that the connectivity and synaptic differentiation of GABAergic interneurons that mediate presynaptic inhibition is directed by their sensory targets. In the absence of sensory terminals these GABAergic neurons shun other available targets, fail to undergo presynaptic differentiation, and withdraw axons from the ventral spinal cord. A sensory-specific source of brain derived neurotrophic factor induces synaptic expression of the GABA synthetic enzyme GAD65--a defining biochemical feature of this set of interneurons. The organization of a GABAergic circuit that mediates presynaptic inhibition in the mammalian CNS is therefore controlled by a stringent program of sensory recognition and signaling.

    Funded by: Howard Hughes Medical Institute; NINDS NIH HHS: R01 NS 33245, R01 NS033245-16; PHS HHS: NIH 527975; Wellcome Trust

    Cell 2009;139;1;161-74

  • AAV-tau mediates pyramidal neurodegeneration by cell-cycle re-entry without neurofibrillary tangle formation in wild-type mice.

    Jaworski T, Dewachter I, Lechat B, Croes S, Termont A, Demedts D, Borghgraef P, Devijver H, Filipkowski RK, Kaczmarek L, Kügler S and Van Leuven F

    Experimental Genetics Group, Department of Human Genetics, KULeuven-Campus, Leuven, Belgium.

    In Alzheimer's disease tauopathy is considered secondary to amyloid, and the duality obscures their relation and the definition of their respective contributions.Transgenic mouse models do not resolve this problem conclusively, i.e. the relative hierarchy of amyloid and tau pathology depends on the actual model and the genes expressed or inactivated. Here, we approached the problem in non-transgenic models by intracerebral injection of adeno-associated viral vectors to express protein tau or amyloid precursor protein in the hippocampus in vivo. AAV-APP mutant caused neuronal accumulation of amyloid peptides, and eventually amyloid plaques at 6 months post-injection, but with only marginal hippocampal cell-death. In contrast, AAV-Tau, either wild-type or mutant P301L, provoked dramatic degeneration of pyramidal neurons in CA1/2 and cortex within weeks. Tau-mediated neurodegeneration proceeded without formation of large fibrillar tau-aggregates or tangles, but with increased expression of cell-cycle markers.We present novel AAV-based models, which demonstrate that protein tau mediates pyramidal neurodegeneration in vivo. The data firmly support the unifying hypothesis that post-mitotic neurons are forced to re-enter the cell-cycle in primary and secondary tauopathies, including Alzheimer's disease.

    PloS one 2009;4;10;e7280

  • Comparative analysis of conditional reporter alleles in the developing embryo and embryonic nervous system.

    Ellisor D, Koveal D, Hagan N, Brown A and Zervas M

    Department of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry, Division of Biology and Medicine, Brown University, 70 Ship St., Providence, RI 02903, USA.

    A long-standing problem in development is understanding how progenitor cells transiently expressing genes contribute to complex anatomical and functional structures. In the developing nervous system an additional level of complexity arises when considering how cells of distinct lineages relate to newly established neural circuits. To address these problems, we used both cumulative marking with Cre/loxP and Genetic Inducible Fate Mapping (GIFM), which permanently and heritably marks small populations of progenitors and their descendants with fine temporal control using CreER/loxP. A key component used in both approaches is a conditional phenotyping allele that has the potential to be expressed in all cell types, but is quiescent because of a loxP flanked Stop sequence, which precedes a reporter allele. Upon recombination, the resulting phenotyping allele is 'turned on' and then constitutively expressed. Thus, the reporter functions as a high fidelity genetic lineage tracer in vivo. Currently there is an array of reporter alleles that can be used in marking strategies, but their recombination efficiency and applicability to a wide array of tissues has not been thoroughly described. To assess the recombination/marking potential of the reporters, we utilized CreER(T) under the control of a Wnt1 transgene (Wnt1-CreER(T)) as well as a cumulative, non-inducible En1(Cre) knock-in line in combination with three different reporters: R26R (LacZ reporter), Z/EG (EGFP reporter), and Tau-Lox-STOP-Lox-mGFP-IRES-NLS-LacZ (membrane-targeted GFP/nuclear LacZ reporter). We marked the Wnt1 lineage using each of the three reporters at embryonic day (E) 8.5 followed by analysis at E10.0, E12.5, and in the adult. We also compared cumulative marking of cells with a history of En1 expression at the same stages. We evaluated the reporters by whole-mount and section analysis and ascertained the strengths and weaknesses of each of the reporters. Comparative analysis with the reporters elucidated complexities of how the Wnt1 and En1 lineages contribute to developing embryos and to axonal projection patterns of neurons derived from these lineages.

    Funded by: NIGMS NIH HHS: T32 GM007601; NINDS NIH HHS: 1T32NS062443, T32 NS062443, T32 NS062443-02

    Gene expression patterns : GEP 2009;9;7;475-89

  • Overexpression of wild-type murine tau results in progressive tauopathy and neurodegeneration.

    Adams SJ, Crook RJ, Deture M, Randle SJ, Innes AE, Yu XZ, Lin WL, Dugger BN, McBride M, Hutton M, Dickson DW and McGowan E

    Department of Neuroscience, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, 4500 San Pablo Road, Jacksonville, FL 32224, USA. adams.stephanie@mayo.edu

    Here, we describe the generation and characterization of a novel tau transgenic mouse model (mTau) that overexpresses wild-type murine tau protein by twofold compared with endogenous levels. Transgenic tau expression was driven by a BAC transgene containing the entire wild-type mouse tau locus, including the endogenous promoter and the regulatory elements associated with the tau gene. The mTau model therefore differs from other tau models in that regulation of the genomic mouse transgene mimics that of the endogenous gene, including normal exon splicing regulation. Biochemical data from the mTau mice demonstrated that modest elevation of mouse tau leads to tau hyperphosphorylation at multiple pathologically relevant epitopes and accumulation of sarkosyl-insoluble tau. The mTau mice show a progressive increase in hyperphosphorylated tau pathology with age up to 15 to 18 months, which is accompanied by gliosis and vacuolization. In contrast, older mice show a decrease in tau pathology levels, which may represent hippocampal neuronal loss occurring in this wild-type model. Collectively, these results describe a novel model of tauopathy that develops pathological changes reminiscent of early stage Alzheimer's disease and other related neurodegenerative diseases, achieved without overexpression of a mutant human tau transgene. This model will provide an important tool for understanding the early events leading to the development of tau pathology and a model for analysis of potential therapeutic targets for sporadic tauopathies.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: AG027638, P01 AG017216

    The American journal of pathology 2009;175;4;1598-609

  • Function of tau protein in adult newborn neurons.

    Fuster-Matanzo A, de Barreda EG, Dawson HN, Vitek MP, Avila J and Hernández F

    Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa, CSIC/UAM, Fac. Ciencias, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid, Spain.

    Levels of tau phosphorylation are high during the developmental period of intense neurite outgrowth, but decrease later. We here investigated whether tau protein plays a role in adult neurogenesis. First we demonstrate that new neurons generated in the subgranular zone express tau in a hyperphosphorylated form. Phospho-tau expression colocalized with doublecortin but not with glial fibrillary acidic protein, Ki67 or calbindin. The same was observed in the subventricular zone. Tau knockout mice did not show a significant decrease in the number of doublecortin-positive cells, although a deficit in migration was observed. These findings suggest that basal tau phosphorylation present in adult animals is in part due to neurogenesis, and from Tau knockout mice it seems that tau is involved in normal migration of new neurons.

    FEBS letters 2009;583;18;3063-8

  • Embryonic origins of ZebrinII parasagittal stripes and establishment of topographic Purkinje cell projections.

    Sillitoe RV, Gopal N and Joyner AL

    Developmental Biology Program, Sloan-Kettering Institute, 1275 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA.

    The establishment of neural circuits involves both the precise positioning of cells within brain regions and projection of axons to specific target cells. In the cerebellum (Cb), the medial-lateral (M-L) and anterior-posterior (A-P) position of each Purkinje cell (PC) and the topography of its axon can be defined with respect to two coordinate systems within the Cb; one based on the pattern of lobules and the other on PC gene expression in parasagittal clusters in the embryo (e.g. Pcp2) and stripes in the adult (e.g. ZebrinII). The relationship between the embryonic clusters of molecularly defined PCs and particular adult PC stripes is not clear. Using a mouse genetic inducible fate mapping (GIFM) approach and a Pcp2-CreER-IRES-hAP transgene, we marked three bilateral clusters of PC clusters with myristolated green fluorescent protein (mGfp) on approximately embryonic day (E) 15 and followed their fate into adulthood. We found that these three clusters contributed specifically to ZebrinII-expressing PCs, including nine of the adult stripes. This result suggests that embryonic PCs maintain a particular molecular identity, and that each embryonic cluster can contribute PCs to more than one adult M-L stripe. Each PC projects a primary axon to one of the deep cerebellar nuclei (DCN) or the vestibular nuclei in the brainstem in an organized fashion that relates to the position of the PCs along the M-L axis. We characterized when PC axons from the three M-L clusters acquire topographic projections. Using a combination of GIFM to mark the PC clusters with mGfp and staining for human placental alkaline phosphatase (hAP) in Pcp2-CreER-IRES-hAP transgenic embryos we found that axons from each embryonic PC cluster intermingled with neurons within particular DCN or projected out of the Cb toward the vestibular nuclei by E14.5. These studies show that PC molecular patterning, efferent circuitry, and DCN nucleogenesis occur simultaneously, suggesting a link between these processes.

    Funded by: Autism Speaks: AS1658; NCI NIH HHS: R01 CA128158-11; NICHD NIH HHS: R01 HD035768-10, R01 HD035768-11; NIMH NIH HHS: R01 MH085726, R01 MH085726-01, R01 MH085726-03

    Neuroscience 2009;162;3;574-88

  • Age-dependent impairment of cognitive and synaptic function in the htau mouse model of tau pathology.

    Polydoro M, Acker CM, Duff K, Castillo PE and Davies P

    Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York 10461, USA.

    A hallmark feature of Alzheimer's disease pathology is the presence of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), which are intracellular aggregates of conformationally abnormal and hyperphosphorylated tau. The presence of NFTs in the forebrain is associated with impairments of cognitive function, supporting a central role for tau in dementia. The significance of the accumulation of NFTs for neuronal and cognitive function is still obscure. It is possible that NFTs disrupt synaptic transmission and plasticity, leading to memory deficits and cognitive malfunction. To elucidate the relationship between the development of tau pathology and synaptic and cognitive functions, we performed behavioral tests and electrophysiological experiments in the htau mouse. Here we report age-dependent cognitive and physiological impairments in htau mice that preceded neurodegeneration. Twelve-month-old htau mice with moderate tau pathology, but not 4-month-old mice with early-stage tau pathology, presented cognitive deficits in an object recognition memory task in which the visual recognition memory of a novel object was disrupted. Moreover, only 12-month-old htau mice exhibit spatial memory deficits, as indicated by the impaired performance in the Morris water maze. In addition, we report that basal synaptic transmission and induction of long-term potentiation with high-frequency stimulation, but not theta burst stimulation, is perturbed in hippocampal CA1 region of old but not young htau mice. Our results suggest that tau pathology may underlie an age-dependent learning impairment through disruption of synaptic function.

    Funded by: NINDS NIH HHS: NS048447, P01 NS048447, P01 NS048447-040004

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2009;29;34;10741-9

  • Hyperphosphorylation and aggregation of Tau in laforin-deficient mice, an animal model for Lafora disease.

    Puri R, Suzuki T, Yamakawa K and Ganesh S

    Department of Biological Sciences and Bioengineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur 208016, India.

    Lafora progressive myoclonous epilepsy (Lafora disease; LD) is caused by mutations in the EPM2A gene encoding a dual specificity protein phosphatase named laforin. Our analyses on the Epm2a gene knock-out mice, which developed most of the symptoms of LD, reveal the presence of hyperphosphorylated Tau protein (Ser(396) and Ser(202)) as neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) in the brain. Intriguingly, NFTs were also observed in the skeletal muscle tissues of the knock-out mice. The hyperphosphorylation of Tau was associated with increased levels of the active form of GSK3 beta. The observations on Tau protein were replicated in cell lines using laforin overexpression and knockdown approaches. We also show here that laforin and Tau proteins physically interact and that the interaction was limited to the phosphatase domain of laforin. Finally, our in vitro and in vivo assays demonstrate that laforin dephosphorylates Tau, and therefore laforin is a novel Tau phosphatase. Taken together, our study suggests that laforin is one of the critical regulators of Tau protein, that the NFTs could underlie some of the symptoms seen in LD, and that laforin can contribute to the NFT formation in Alzheimer disease and other tauopathies.

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2009;284;34;22657-63

  • Expression QTL and regulatory network analysis of microtubule-associated protein tau gene.

    Shen Q, Wang X, Chen Y, Xu L, Wang X and Lu L

    Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Neuroregeneration, Nantong University, Nantong 226001, PR China.

    Numerous studies have shown that the microtubule-associated protein tau (Mapt) gene plays an important role in tauopathies. However, little is known about the genetic regulatory network. In this study, we combined array analysis and quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping approaches (genetical genomics) to characterize the expression variation and the regulatory network of Mapt in mouse. Through examining the probe sets for overlapping single nucleotide polymorphysms (SNPs), two probe sets without overlapping SNPs were selected for QTL mapping. Interval mapping results showed that expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) mapping for Mapt had a significant linkage score (LRS) of 27.2. Moreover, the QTL was mapped to within 3 Mb of the location of the gene itself (Mapt) as a cis-acting QTL. Through mapping the joint modulation of Mapt, we identified 22 transcripts/genes with trans-regulated QTLs close to the location of Mapt. By further excluding the correlated transcripts due to linkage disequilibrium, the result highlighted three genes as potential downstream genes of Mapt. Expression correlation and genetic network analysis demonstrated that Mapt co-varies with many tauopathies-related genes, including Gsk3b, Falz, Apbb2, Slc1a3, Ntrk2, Pik3ca, and Ikbkap. These results demonstrate that the genetical genomics approach provides a powerful tool for constructing pathways that contribute to complex traits, such as neurodegenerative disorders.

    Funded by: NIAAA NIH HHS: U01-AA014425

    Parkinsonism & related disorders 2009;15;7;525-31

  • Caspase-cleaved tau expression induces mitochondrial dysfunction in immortalized cortical neurons: implications for the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease.

    Quintanilla RA, Matthews-Roberson TA, Dolan PJ and Johnson GV

    Department of Anesthesiology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14642-0002, USA.

    In Alzheimer disease (AD) mitochondrial abnormalities occur early in the pathogenic process and likely play a significant role in disease progression. Tau is a microtubule-associated protein that is abnormally processed in AD, and a connection between tau pathology and mitochondrial impairment has been proposed. However, few studies have examined the relationship between pathological forms of tau and mitochondrial dysfunction. We recently demonstrated that inducible expression of tau truncated at Asp-421 to mimic caspase cleavage (T4C3) was toxic to immortalized cortical neurons compared with a full-length tau isoform (T4). In this study we investigated the effects of T4C3 on mitochondrial function. Expression of T4C3 induced mitochondrial fragmentation and elevated oxidative stress levels in comparison with T4-expressing cells. Thapsigargin treatment of T4 or T4C3 cells, which causes an increase in intracellular calcium levels, resulted in a significant decrease in mitochondrial potential and loss of mitochondrial membrane integrity in T4C3 cells when compared with cells expressing T4. The mitochondrial fragmentation and mitochondrial membrane damage were ameliorated in T4C3 cells by pretreatment with cyclosporine A or FK506, implicating the calcium-dependent phosphatase calcineurin in these pathogenic events. Increased calcineurin activity has been reported in AD brain, and thus, inhibition of this phosphatase may provide a therapeutic target for the treatment of AD.

    Funded by: NINDS NIH HHS: NS051279, R01 NS051279-06

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2009;284;28;18754-66

  • Effect of Pin1 or microtubule binding on dephosphorylation of FTDP-17 mutant Tau.

    Yotsumoto K, Saito T, Asada A, Oikawa T, Kimura T, Uchida C, Ishiguro K, Uchida T, Hasegawa M and Hisanaga S

    Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Tokyo Metropolitan University, 1-1 Minami-osawa, Hachioji, Tokyo 192-0397, Japan.

    Neurodegenerative tauopathies, including Alzheimer disease, are characterized by abnormal hyperphosphorylation of the microtubule-associated protein Tau. One group of tauopathies, known as frontotemporal dementia with parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 (FTDP-17), is directly associated with mutations of the gene tau. However, it is unknown why mutant Tau is highly phosphorylated in the patient brain. In contrast to in vivo high phosphorylation, FTDP-17 Tau is phosphorylated less than wild-type Tau in vitro. Because phosphorylation is a balance between kinase and phosphatase activities, we investigated dephosphorylation of mutant Tau proteins, P301L and R406W. Tau phosphorylated by Cdk5-p25 was dephosphorylated by protein phosphatases in rat brain extracts. Compared with wild-type Tau, R406W was dephosphorylated faster and P301L slower. The two-dimensional phosphopeptide map analysis suggested that faster dephosphorylation of R406W was due to a lack of phosphorylation at Ser-404, which is relatively resistant to dephosphorylation. We studied the effect of the peptidyl-prolyl isomerase Pin1 or microtubule binding on dephosphorylation of wild-type Tau, P301L, and R406W in vitro. Pin1 catalyzes the cis/trans isomerization of phospho-Ser/Thr-Pro sequences in a subset of proteins. Dephosphorylation of wild-type Tau was reduced in brain extracts of Pin1-knockout mice, and this reduction was not observed with P301L and R406W. On the other hand, binding to microtubules almost abolished dephosphorylation of wild-type and mutant Tau proteins. These results demonstrate that mutation of Tau and its association with microtubules may change the conformation of Tau, thereby suppressing dephosphorylation and potentially contributing to the etiology of tauopathies.

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2009;284;25;16840-7

  • Specificity of sensory-motor connections encoded by Sema3e-Plxnd1 recognition.

    Pecho-Vrieseling E, Sigrist M, Yoshida Y, Jessell TM and Arber S

    Biozentrum, Department of Cell Biology, University of Basel, 4056 Basel, Switzerland.

    Spinal reflexes are mediated by synaptic connections between sensory afferents and motor neurons. The organization of these circuits shows several levels of specificity. Only certain classes of proprioceptive sensory neurons make direct, monosynaptic connections with motor neurons. Those that do are bound by rules of motor pool specificity: they form strong connections with motor neurons supplying the same muscle, but avoid motor pools supplying antagonistic muscles. This pattern of connectivity is initially accurate and is maintained in the absence of activity, implying that wiring specificity relies on the matching of recognition molecules on the surface of sensory and motor neurons. However, determinants of fine synaptic specificity here, as in most regions of the central nervous system, have yet to be defined. To address the origins of synaptic specificity in these reflex circuits we have used molecular genetic methods to manipulate recognition proteins expressed by subsets of sensory and motor neurons. We show here that a recognition system involving expression of the class 3 semaphorin Sema3e by selected motor neuron pools, and its high-affinity receptor plexin D1 (Plxnd1) by proprioceptive sensory neurons, is a critical determinant of synaptic specificity in sensory-motor circuits in mice. Changing the profile of Sema3e-Plxnd1 signalling in sensory or motor neurons results in functional and anatomical rewiring of monosynaptic connections, but does not alter motor pool specificity. Our findings indicate that patterns of monosynaptic connectivity in this prototypic central nervous system circuit are constructed through a recognition program based on repellent signalling.

    Funded by: Howard Hughes Medical Institute; NINDS NIH HHS: R01 NS065048, R01 NS065048-01, R01NS065048; Wellcome Trust

    Nature 2009;459;7248;842-6

  • The thioredoxin-like protein rod-derived cone viability factor (RdCVFL) interacts with TAU and inhibits its phosphorylation in the retina.

    Fridlich R, Delalande F, Jaillard C, Lu J, Poidevin L, Cronin T, Perrocheau L, Millet-Puel G, Niepon ML, Poch O, Holmgren A, Van Dorsselaer A, Sahel JA and Léveillard T

    double daggerInstitut de la Vision, INSERM UMR592, 17 rue Moreau, 75012 Paris, France.

    Rod-derived cone viability factor (RdCVF) is produced by the Nxnl1 gene that codes for a second polypeptide, RdCVFL, by alternative splicing. Although the role of RdCVF in promoting cone survival has been described, the implication of RdCVFL, a putative thioredoxin enzyme, in the protection of photoreceptors is presently unknown. Using a proteomics approach we identified 90 proteins interacting with RdCVFL including the microtubule-binding protein TAU. We demonstrate that the level of phosphorylation of TAU is increased in the retina of the Nxnl1(-/-) mice as it is hyperphosphorylated in the brain of patients suffering from Alzheimer disease, presumably in some cases through oxidative stress. Using a cell-based assay, we show that RdCVFL inhibits TAU phosphorylation. In vitro, RdCVFL protects TAU from oxidative damage. Photooxidative stress is implicated in retinal degeneration, particularly in retinitis pigmentosa, where it is considered to be a contributor to secondary cone death. The functional interaction between RdCVFL and TAU described here is the first characterization of the RdCVFL signaling pathway involved in neuronal cell death mediated by oxidative stress.

    Molecular & cellular proteomics : MCP 2009;8;6;1206-18

  • Tau--an inhibitor of deacetylase HDAC6 function.

    Perez M, Santa-Maria I, Gomez de Barreda E, Zhu X, Cuadros R, Cabrero JR, Sanchez-Madrid F, Dawson HN, Vitek MP, Perry G, Smith MA and Avila J

    Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa (CSIC-UAM), Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain.

    Analysis of brain microtubule protein from patients with Alzheimer's disease showed decreased alpha tubulin levels along with increased acetylation of the alpha tubulin subunit, mainly in those microtubules from neurons containing neurofibrillary tau pathology. To determine the relationship of tau protein and increased tubulin acetylation, we studied the effect of tau on the acetylation-deacetylation of tubulin. Our results indicate that tau binds to the tubulin-deacetylase, histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6), decreasing its activity with a consequent increase in tubulin acetylation. As expected, increased acetylation was also found in tubulin from wild-type mice compared with tubulin from mice lacking tau because of the tau-mediated inhibition of the deacetylase. In addition, we found that an excess of tau protein, as a HDAC6 inhibitor, prevents induction of autophagy by inhibiting proteasome function.

    Journal of neurochemistry 2009;109;6;1756-66

  • Sanfilippo syndrome type B, a lysosomal storage disease, is also a tauopathy.

    Ohmi K, Kudo LC, Ryazantsev S, Zhao HZ, Karsten SL and Neufeld EF

    Department of Biological Chemistry, David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.

    Sanfilippo syndrome type B (mucopolysaccharidosis III B, MPS III B) is an autosomal recessive, neurodegenerative disease of children, characterized by profound mental retardation and dementia. The primary cause is mutation in the NAGLU gene, resulting in deficiency of alpha-N-acetylglucosaminidase and lysosomal accumulation of heparan sulfate. In the mouse model of MPS III B, neurons and microglia display the characteristic vacuolation of lysosomal storage of undegraded substrate, but neurons in the medial entorhinal cortex (MEC) display accumulation of several additional substances. We used whole genome microarray analysis to examine differential gene expression in MEC neurons isolated by laser capture microdissection from Naglu(-/-) and Naglu(+/-) mice. Neurons from the lateral entorhinal cortex (LEC) were used as tissue controls. The highest increase in gene expression (6- to 7-fold between mutant and control) in MEC and LEC neurons was that of Lyzs, which encodes lysozyme, but accumulation of lysozyme protein was seen in MEC neurons only. Because of a report that lysozyme induced the formation of hyperphosphorylated tau (P-tau) in cultured neurons, we searched for P-tau by immunohistochemistry. P-tau was found in MEC of Naglu(-/-) mice, in the same neurons as lysozyme. In older mutant mice, it was also seen in the dentate gyrus, an area important for memory. Electron microscopy of dentate gyrus neurons showed cytoplasmic inclusions of paired helical filaments, P-tau aggregates characteristic of tauopathies-a group of age-related dementias that include Alzheimer disease. Our findings indicate that the Sanfilippo syndrome type B should also be considered a tauopathy.

    Funded by: NINDS NIH HHS: NS022376

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2009;106;20;8332-7

  • HDAC2 negatively regulates memory formation and synaptic plasticity.

    Guan JS, Haggarty SJ, Giacometti E, Dannenberg JH, Joseph N, Gao J, Nieland TJ, Zhou Y, Wang X, Mazitschek R, Bradner JE, DePinho RA, Jaenisch R and Tsai LH

    Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.

    Chromatin modifications, especially histone-tail acetylation, have been implicated in memory formation. Increased histone-tail acetylation induced by inhibitors of histone deacetylases (HDACis) facilitates learning and memory in wild-type mice as well as in mouse models of neurodegeneration. Harnessing the therapeutic potential of HDACis requires knowledge of the specific HDAC family member(s) linked to cognitive enhancement. Here we show that neuron-specific overexpression of HDAC2, but not that of HDAC1, decreased dendritic spine density, synapse number, synaptic plasticity and memory formation. Conversely, Hdac2 deficiency resulted in increased synapse number and memory facilitation, similar to chronic treatment with HDACis in mice. Notably, reduced synapse number and learning impairment of HDAC2-overexpressing mice were ameliorated by chronic treatment with HDACis. Correspondingly, treatment with HDACis failed to further facilitate memory formation in Hdac2-deficient mice. Furthermore, analysis of promoter occupancy revealed an association of HDAC2 with the promoters of genes implicated in synaptic plasticity and memory formation. Taken together, our results suggest that HDAC2 functions in modulating synaptic plasticity and long-lasting changes of neural circuits, which in turn negatively regulates learning and memory. These observations encourage the development and testing of HDAC2-selective inhibitors for human diseases associated with memory impairment.

    Funded by: Howard Hughes Medical Institute; NCI NIH HHS: N01CO12400, R01 CA087869, R37 CA084198; NIDA NIH HHS: R01 DA028301, R01 DA028301-02; NINDS NIH HHS: R01 NS051874

    Nature 2009;459;7243;55-60

  • Essential role of Rac1 and Rac3 GTPases in neuronal development.

    Corbetta S, Gualdoni S, Ciceri G, Monari M, Zuccaro E, Tybulewicz VL and de Curtis I

    Cell Adhesion Unit, San Raffaele Scientific Institute and University Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Via Olgettina 58-20132 Milano, Italy.

    Rac GTPases are members of the Rho family regulating the actin cytoskeleton and implicated in neuronal development. Ubiquitous Rac1 and neuron-specific Rac3 GTPases are coexpressed in the developing mammalian brain. We used Cre-mediated conditional deletion of Rac1 in neurons combined with knockout of neuron-specific Rac3 to study the role of these GTPases in neural development. We found that lack of both genes causes motor behavioral defects, epilepsy, and premature death of mice. Deletion of either GTPase does not produce evident phenotypes. Double-knockout mice show specific defects in the development of the hippocampus. Selective impairment of the dorsal hilus of double-knockout animals is associated with alteration in the formation of the hippocampal circuitry. Axonal pathways to and from the dorsal hilus are affected because of the deficit of hilar mossy cells. Moreover, analysis of Rac function in hippocampal cultures shows that spine formation is strongly hampered only in neurons lacking both Rac proteins. These findings show for the first time that both Rac1 and Rac3 are important for the development of the nervous system, wherein they play complementary roles during late stages of neuronal and brain development.

    Funded by: Medical Research Council: MC_U117527252; Telethon: GGP05051

    FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology 2009;23;5;1347-57

  • Tau deletion exacerbates the phenotype of Niemann-Pick type C mice and implicates autophagy in pathogenesis.

    Pacheco CD, Elrick MJ and Lieberman AP

    Neuroscience Program, The University of Michigan Medical School, 3510 MSRB1, 1150 W. Medical Center Dr, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.

    Hyperphosphorylation and aggregation of the microtubule-binding protein tau characterize a diverse array of neurodegenerative disorders. Most of these lack mutations in the encoding MAPT gene, and the role of tau in disease pathogenesis remains controversial. Among these tauopathies is Niemann-Pick type C disease (NPC), a lysosomal storage disorder characterized by progressive neurodegeneration and premature death, most often caused by an inherited deficiency in the intracellular lipid trafficking protein NPC1. To determine the extent to which tau affects NPC pathogenesis, we generated Npc1-/- mice deficient in tau. Unexpectedly, NPC1/tau double null mutants are generated in markedly smaller litters, exhibit an enhanced systemic phenotype and die significantly earlier than NPC1 single null mutants. As autophagy is up-regulated in NPC and protein degradation through this pathway depends on movement along microtubules, we knocked down MAPT expression in NPC1-deficient human fibroblasts and examined effects on this pathway. We show that an acute reduction of tau expression in a cellular model of NPC decreases induction and flux through the autophagic pathway. Our data establish that MAPT deletion exacerbates the NPC phenotype through a mechanism independent of tau protein aggregation and identifies a critical role for tau in the regulation of autophagy in NPC1-deficient cells.

    Funded by: NIGMS NIH HHS: T32 GM 07863; NINDS NIH HHS: F31 NS051143-03, F31 NS51143

    Human molecular genetics 2009;18;5;956-65

  • A putative role for cell cycle-related proteins in microtubule-based neuroplasticity.

    Schmetsdorf S, Arnold E, Holzer M, Arendt T and Gärtner U

    Paul Flechsig Institute for Brain Research, Department for Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Neurodegeneration, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany. stefanie.schmetsdorf@medizin.uni-leipzig.de

    Cyclins and cyclin-dependent kinases (Cdks) are the main components that control the orderly progression through cell cycle. In the mature nervous system, terminally differentiated neurons are permanently withdrawn from cell cycle, as mitotic quiescence is essential for the functional stability of the complexly wired neuronal system. Recently, we characterized the expression and colocalization of cyclins and Cdks in terminally differentiated pyramidal neurons. The functional impact of the expression of cell cycle-related proteins in differentiated neurons, however, has not been elucidated yet. In the present study, we show by immunoelectron microscopy and immunobiochemical methods an association of cyclins and Cdks with the microtubule network. Cyclins D, E, A and B as well as Cdks 1, 2 and 4 were also found to be associated with the microtubule-associated protein tau. Cyclin/Cdk complexes, in addition, exhibit kinase activity towards tau. In vitro, downregulation of cyclins and Cdks by a siRNA approach and by pharmacological inhibition promotes neurite extension. Taken together, these results indicate that the expression of cell cycle-related proteins in terminal differentiated neurons is associated with physiological functions beyond cell cycle control that might be involved in microtubule-based mechanisms of neuroplasticity.

    The European journal of neuroscience 2009;29;6;1096-107

  • Levels of soluble and insoluble tau reflect overall status of tau phosphorylation in vivo.

    Hirata-Fukae C, Li HF, Ma L, Hoe HS, Rebeck GW, Aisen PS and Matsuoka Y

    Department of Neurology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20057, USA.

    The clinical progression of Alzheimer's disease is closely related to tau pathology. Hyperphosphorylation of tau precedes histopathological evidence of tangle formation, and modulation of tau phosphorylation is a promising therapeutic target. Although some phosphorylation sites are more critical in pathological processes, the importance of each phosphorylation site is unclear. In this study, we found that levels of phosphorylated tau drastically increased in crude and insoluble tau fractions with aging in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer-type tauopathy. However, changes in the soluble tau fraction were minor and phosphorylation at some sites was even reduced with aging. Total soluble (presumably functional) tau was reduced, while insoluble tau increased with aging. Synaptic proteins were reduced as insoluble tau increased. Taken together, these findings suggest that levels of soluble and insoluble tau are indicative of overall levels of tau phosphorylation, and may be useful markers to evaluate the effects of anti-tau therapeutic strategies in vivo.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: AG022455, AG026478

    Neuroscience letters 2009;450;1;51-5

  • Increasing Cu bioavailability inhibits Abeta oligomers and tau phosphorylation.

    Crouch PJ, Hung LW, Adlard PA, Cortes M, Lal V, Filiz G, Perez KA, Nurjono M, Caragounis A, Du T, Laughton K, Volitakis I, Bush AI, Li QX, Masters CL, Cappai R, Cherny RA, Donnelly PS, White AR and Barnham KJ

    Department of Pathology, Centre for Neuroscience, School of Chemistry, and Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victorial, 3010, Australia.

    Cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease (AD) involves pathological accumulation of synaptotoxic amyloid-beta (Abeta) oligomers and hyperphosphorylated tau. Because recent evidence indicates that glycogen synthase kinase 3beta (GSK3beta) activity regulates these neurotoxic pathways, we developed an AD therapeutic strategy to target GSK3beta. The strategy involves the use of copper-bis(thiosemicarbazonoto) complexes to increase intracellular copper bioavailability and inhibit GSK3beta through activation of an Akt signaling pathway. Our lead compound Cu(II)(gtsm) significantly inhibited GSK3beta in the brains of APP/PS1 transgenic AD model mice. Cu(II)(gtsm) also decreased the abundance of Abeta trimers and phosphorylated tau, and restored performance of AD mice in the Y-maze test to levels expected for cognitively normal animals. Improvement in the Y-maze correlated directly with decreased Abeta trimer levels. This study demonstrates that increasing intracellular copper bioavailability can restore cognitive function by inhibiting the accumulation of neurotoxic Abeta trimers and phosphorylated tau.

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2009;106;2;381-6

  • Phosphorylation of tau at Ser214 mediates its interaction with 14-3-3 protein: implications for the mechanism of tau aggregation.

    Sadik G, Tanaka T, Kato K, Yamamori H, Nessa BN, Morihara T and Takeda M

    Department of Psychiatry, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka, Japan.

    The microtubule associated protein tau is a major component of neurofibrillary tangles in Alzheimer disease brain, however the neuropathological processes behind the formation of neurofibrillary tangles are still unclear. Previously, 14-3-3 proteins were reported to bind with tau. 14-3-3 Proteins usually bind their targets through specific serine/threonine -phosphorylated motifs. Therefore, the interaction of tau with 14-3-3 mediated by phosphorylation was investigated. In this study, we show that the phosphorylation of tau by either protein kinase A (PKA) or protein kinase B (PKB) enhances the binding of tau with 14-3-3 in vitro. The affinity between tau and 14-3-3 is increased 12- to 14-fold by phosphorylation as determined by real time surface plasmon resonance studies. Mutational analyses revealed that Ser214 is critical for the phosphorylation-mediated interaction of tau with 14-3-3. Finally, in vitro aggregation assays demonstrated that phosphorylation by PKA/PKB inhibits the formation of aggregates/filaments of tau induced by 14-3-3. As the phosphorylation at Ser214 is up-regulated in fetal brain, tau's interaction with 14-3-3 may have a significant role in the organization of the microtubule cytoskeleton in development. Also as the phosphorylation at Ser214 is up-regulated in Alzheimer's disease brain, tau's interaction with 14-3-3 might be involved in the pathology of this disease.

    Journal of neurochemistry 2009;108;1;33-43

  • A practical approach to genetic inducible fate mapping: a visual guide to mark and track cells in vivo.

    Brown A, Brown S, Ellisor D, Hagan N, Normand E and Zervas M

    Department of Neuroscience, Division of Biology and Medicine, Brown University, USA.

    Fate maps are generated by marking and tracking cells in vivo to determine how progenitors contribute to specific structures and cell types in developing and adult tissue. An advance in this concept is Genetic Inducible Fate Mapping (GIFM), linking gene expression, cell fate, and cell behaviors in vivo, to create fate maps based on genetic lineage. GIFM exploits X-CreER lines where X is a gene or set of gene regulatory elements that confers spatial expression of a modified bacteriophage protein, Cre recombinase (CreER(T)). CreER(T) contains a modified estrogen receptor ligand binding domain which renders CreER(T) sequestered in the cytoplasm in the absence of the drug tamoxifen. The binding of tamoxifen releases CreER(T), which translocates to the nucleus and mediates recombination between DNA sequences flanked by loxP sites. In GIFM, recombination typically occurs between a loxP flanked Stop cassette preceding a reporter gene such as GFP. Mice are bred to contain either a region- or cell type-specific CreER and a conditional reporter allele. Untreated mice will not have marking because the Stop cassette in the reporter prevents further transcription of the reporter gene. We administer tamoxifen by oral gavage to timed-pregnant females, which provides temporal control of CreER(T) release and subsequent translocation to the nucleus removing the Stop cassette from the reporter. Following recombination, the reporter allele is constitutively and heritably expressed. This series of events marks cells such that their genetic history is indelibly recorded. The recombined reporter thus serves as a high fidelity genetic lineage tracer that, once on, is uncoupled from the gene expression initially used to drive CreER(T). We apply GIFM in mouse to study normal development and ascertain the contribution of genetic lineages to adult cell types and tissues. We also use GIFM to follow cells on mutant genetic backgrounds to better understand complex phenotypes that mimic salient features of human genetic disorders. This video article guides researchers through experimental methods to successfully apply GIFM. We demonstrate the method using our well characterized Wnt1-CreER(T);mGFP mice by administering tamoxifen at embryonic day (E)8.5 via oral gavage followed by dissection at E12.5 and analysis by epifluorescence stereomicroscopy. We also demonstrate how to micro-dissect fate mapped domains for explant preparation or FACS analysis and dissect adult fate-mapped brains for whole mount fluorescent imaging. Collectively, these procedures allow researchers to address critical questions in developmental biology and disease models.

    Funded by: NINDS NIH HHS: T32 NS062443-02

    Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE 2009;34

  • Activation of cell cycle proteins in transgenic mice in response to neuronal loss but not amyloid-beta and tau pathology.

    Lopes JP, Blurton-Jones M, Yamasaki TR, Agostinho P and LaFerla FM

    Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, Faculty of Medicine, Biochemistry Institute, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal. jpplopes@gmail.com

    Cell cycle proteins are elevated in the brain of patients and in transgenic models of Alzheimer's disease (AD), suggesting that aberrant cell cycle re-entry plays a key role in this disorder. However, the precise relationship between cell cycle reactivation and the hallmarks of AD, amyloid-beta (Abeta) plaques and tau-laden neurofibrillary tangles, remains unclear. We sought to determine whether cell cycle reactivation initiates in direct response to Abeta and tau accumulation or whether it occurs as a downstream consequence of neuronal death pathways. Therefore, we used a triple transgenic mouse model of AD (3xTg-AD) that develops plaques and tangles, but does not exhibit extensive neuronal loss, whereas to model hippocampal neuronal death a tetracycline-regulatable transgenic model of neuronal ablation (CaM/Tet-DT(A) mice) was used. Cell-cycle protein activation was determined in these two models of neurodegeneration, using biochemical and histological approaches. Our findings indicate that Cdk4, PCNA and phospho-Rb are significantly elevated in CaM/Tet-DT(A) mice following neuronal death. In contrast, no significant activation of cell-cycle proteins occurs in 3xTg-AD mice versus non-transgenic controls. Taken together, our data indicate that neuronal cell cycle reactivation is not a prominent feature induced by Abeta or tau pathology, but rather appears to be triggered by acute neuronal loss.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: R01AG027544

    Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD 2009;16;3;541-9

  • Experimental diabetes mellitus exacerbates tau pathology in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.

    Ke YD, Delerue F, Gladbach A, Götz J and Ittner LM

    Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease Laboratory, Brain & Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.

    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 2009;4;11;e7917

  • Interactions between glycogen synthase kinase 3beta, protein kinase B, and protein phosphatase 2A in tau phosphorylation in mouse N2a neuroblastoma cells.

    Zhou XW, Winblad B, Guan Z and Pei JJ

    Karolinska Institutet, KI-Alzheimer Disease Research Center (KI-ADRC), Novum, Huddinge, Sweden.

    In this study, we investigated how tau phosphorylation is regulated by protein kinase glycogen synthase kinase 3beta (GSK3 beta), protein kinase B (PKB), and protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) in mouse N2a neuroblastoma cells. Results showed that GSK3 beta overexpression significantly increased PKB phosphorylation at the S473 site but not the T308 site. Neither GSK3 beta nor PKB overexpression could reduce the PP2AC phosphorylation at the Y307 site. In contrast, either PKB or GSK3 beta knockdown could increase PP2A phosphorylation at the Y307 site. PP2AC knockdown increased GSK3 beta phosphorylation at the S9 site but not at the Y216 site, and PKB phosphorylation at the T308 site but not at the S473 site. Tau phosphorylation at the S396 site was increased by GSK3 beta or PKB overexpression. Tau phosphorylation at the S214 site was only induced by PKB overexpression in the study. While GSK3 beta knockdown decreased tau phosphorylation at the S396 site, PKB knockdown increased tau phosphorylation at both the S396 and S214 sites. PP2AC knockdown decreased tau phosphorylation at the S396 and S214 sites. These findings suggest that tau phosphorylation at the S396 and S214 sites is differentially regulated by GSK3 beta, PKB, and PP2A in N2a cells. The final phosphorylation state of tau is possibly caused by the synergic action of the three enzymes.

    Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD 2009;17;4;929-37

  • Molecular networks involved in mouse cerebral corticogenesis and spatio-temporal regulation of Sox4 and Sox11 novel antisense transcripts revealed by transcriptome profiling.

    Ling KH, Hewitt CA, Beissbarth T, Hyde L, Banerjee K, Cheah PS, Cannon PZ, Hahn CN, Thomas PQ, Smyth GK, Tan SS, Thomas T and Scott HS

    Molecular Medicine Division, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Royal Parade, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia. michael.ling@imvs.sa.gov.au

    Background: Development of the cerebral cortex requires highly specific spatio-temporal regulation of gene expression. It is proposed that transcriptome profiling of the cerebral cortex at various developmental time points or regions will reveal candidate genes and associated molecular pathways involved in cerebral corticogenesis.

    Results: Serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE) libraries were constructed from C57BL/6 mouse cerebral cortices of age embryonic day (E) 15.5, E17.5, postnatal day (P) 1.5 and 4 to 6 months. Hierarchical clustering analysis of 561 differentially expressed transcripts showed regionalized, stage-specific and co-regulated expression profiles. SAGE expression profiles of 70 differentially expressed transcripts were validated using quantitative RT-PCR assays. Ingenuity pathway analyses of validated differentially expressed transcripts demonstrated that these transcripts possess distinctive functional properties related to various stages of cerebral corticogenesis and human neurological disorders. Genomic clustering analysis of the differentially expressed transcripts identified two highly transcribed genomic loci, Sox4 and Sox11, during embryonic cerebral corticogenesis. These loci feature unusual overlapping sense and antisense transcripts with alternative polyadenylation sites and differential expression. The Sox4 and Sox11 antisense transcripts were highly expressed in the brain compared to other mouse organs and are differentially expressed in both the proliferating and differentiating neural stem/progenitor cells and P19 (embryonal carcinoma) cells.

    Conclusions: We report validated gene expression profiles that have implications for understanding the associations between differentially expressed transcripts, novel targets and related disorders pertaining to cerebral corticogenesis. The study reports, for the first time, spatio-temporally regulated Sox4 and Sox11 antisense transcripts in the brain, neural stem/progenitor cells and P19 cells, suggesting they have an important role in cerebral corticogenesis and neuronal/glial cell differentiation.

    Genome biology 2009;10;10;R104

  • Apparent behavioral benefits of tau overexpression in P301L tau transgenic mice.

    Morgan D, Munireddy S, Alamed J, DeLeon J, Diamond DM, Bickford P, Hutton M, Lewis J, McGowan E and Gordon MN

    Alzheimer Research Laboratory, Department of Pharmacology, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33612-4799, USA. dmorgan@hsc.usf.edu

    Transgenic mice expressing human tau containing the P301L tau mutation (JNPL3; tau mice) develop motor neuron loss, paralysis and death between 7 and 12 months. Surprisingly, at 5 and 7 months of age, tau transgenic mice were superior to other genotypes in the rotarod task, and had near perfect scores on the balance beam and coat hanger tests. One tau transgenic mouse was performing at a superior level in the rotarod one day prior to developing paralysis. Cognitive function was also normal in the tau mice evaluated in the radial arm water maze and the Y-maze tasks. We also crossed the tau transgenic mice with Tg2576 amyloid-beta protein precursor (AbetaPP) transgenic mice. Although AbetaPP mice were deficient in the radial arm maze task, AbetaPP + tau mice were not impaired, implying a benefit of the tau transgene. Some mice were homozygous for the retinal degeneration mutation (rd/rd) and excluded from the genotype analysis. Only the water maze task discriminated the rd/rd mice from nontransgenic mice. In conclusion, it seems that the modest tau overexpression or the presence of mutant tau in the JNPL3 tau mice may provide some benefit with respect to motor and cognitive performance before the onset of paralysis.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: AG04418, AG15490, AG18478, AG25509, P01 AG004418-25, R01 AG015490-10, R01 AG018478-09, R01 AG025509-05

    Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD 2008;15;4;605-14

  • C2cd3 is required for cilia formation and Hedgehog signaling in mouse.

    Hoover AN, Wynkoop A, Zeng H, Jia J, Niswander LA and Liu A

    Department of Biology, Eberly College of Science, The Pennsylvania State University, 201 Life Science Building, University Park, PA 16802, USA.

    Cilia are essential for mammalian embryonic development as well as for the physiological activity of various adult organ systems. Despite the multiple crucial roles that cilia play, the mechanisms underlying ciliogenesis in mammals remain poorly understood. Taking a forward genetic approach, we have identified Hearty (Hty), a recessive lethal mouse mutant with multiple defects, including neural tube defects, abnormal dorsal-ventral patterning of the spinal cord, a defect in left-right axis determination and severe polydactyly (extra digits). By genetic mapping, sequence analysis of candidate genes and characterization of a second mutant allele, we identify Hty as C2cd3, a novel gene encoding a vertebrate-specific C2 domain-containing protein. Target gene expression and double-mutant analyses suggest that C2cd3 is an essential regulator of intracellular transduction of the Hedgehog signal. Furthering a link between Hedgehog signaling and cilia function, we find that cilia formation and proteolytic processing of Gli3 are disrupted in C2cd3 mutants. Finally, we observe C2cd3 protein at the basal body, consistent with its essential function in ciliogenesis. Interestingly, the human ortholog for this gene lies in proximity to the critical regions of Meckel-Gruber syndrome 2 (MKS2) and Joubert syndrome 2 (JBTS2), making it a potential candidate for these two human genetic disorders.

    Funded by: Howard Hughes Medical Institute; NICHD NIH HHS: 5R01HD032427, R01 HD032427, R01 HD032427-13

    Development (Cambridge, England) 2008;135;24;4049-58

  • Regulation of neural migration by the CREB/CREM transcription factors and altered Dab1 levels in CREB/CREM mutants.

    Díaz-Ruiz C, Parlato R, Aguado F, Ureña JM, Burgaya F, Martínez A, Carmona MA, Kreiner G, Bleckmann S, Del Río JA, Schütz G and Soriano E

    Institute for Research in Biomedicine-Barcelona (IRB), Department of Cell Biology and CIBERNED (ISCIII), University of Barcelona, Barcelona Science Park, Lab A1-S1, Josep Samitier 1-5, Barcelona 08028, Spain.

    The family of CREB transcription factors is involved in a variety of biological processes including the development and plasticity of the nervous system. To gain further insight into the roles of CREB family members in the development of the embryonic brain, we examined the migratory phenotype of CREB1(Nescre)CREM(-/-) mutants. We found that the lack of CREB/CREM genes is accompanied by anatomical defects in specific layers of the olfactory bulb, hippocampus and cerebral cortex. These changes are associated with decreased Dab1 expression in CREB1(Nescre)CREM(-/-) mutants. Our results indicate that the lack of CREB/CREM genes, specifically in neural and glial progenitors, leads to migration abnormalities during brain development, suggesting that unidentified age-dependent factors modulate the role of CREB/CREM genes in neural development.

    Molecular and cellular neurosciences 2008;39;4;519-28

  • Tau binds both subunits of calcineurin, and binding is impaired by calmodulin.

    Yu DY, Tong L, Song GJ, Lin WL, Zhang LQ, Bai W, Gong H, Yin YX and Wei Q

    Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing Key Laboratory, Beijing 100875, China.

    Calcineurin, an important protein Ser/Thr phosphatase which acts on tau in vivo, is a heterodimer of a catalytic subunit, calcineurin A, and a regulatory subunit, calcineurin B, and is unique in being regulated by calmodulin. Here, we find that both subunits of calcineurin bind tau, and calmodulin interferes with the association between calcineurin and tau. The domains of both subunits of calcineurin and tau involved in binding are mapped. We also investigate the functional consequences of the interactions between both subunits of calcineurin, tau and calmodulin, and reveal the interactions affect dephosphorylation of tau by calcineurin and contribute to the balance of phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of tau in vivo. Our findings may be of potential significance in neuronal physiology and also in neurodegenerative disorders. They shed some light on how the interactions might control the phosphorylation state of tau under physiological conditions, and provide new insights into the treatment of tauopathies such as Alzheimer's disease.

    Biochimica et biophysica acta 2008;1783;12;2255-61

  • A crucial role for primary cilia in cortical morphogenesis.

    Willaredt MA, Hasenpusch-Theil K, Gardner HA, Kitanovic I, Hirschfeld-Warneken VC, Gojak CP, Gorgas K, Bradford CL, Spatz J, Wölfl S, Theil T and Tucker KL

    Interdisciplinary Center for Neurosciences, Department of Anatomy, University of Heidelberg, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.

    Primary cilia are important sites of signal transduction involved in a wide range of developmental and postnatal functions. Proteolytic processing of the transcription factor Gli3, for example, occurs in primary cilia, and defects in intraflagellar transport (IFT), which is crucial for the maintenance of primary cilia, can lead to severe developmental defects and diseases. Here we report an essential role of primary cilia in forebrain development. Uncovered by N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea-mutagenesis, cobblestone is a hypomorphic allele of the IFT gene Ift88, in which Ift88 mRNA and protein levels are reduced by 70-80%. cobblestone mutants are distinguished by subpial heterotopias in the forebrain. Mutants show both severe defects in the formation of dorsomedial telencephalic structures, such as the choroid plexus, cortical hem and hippocampus, and also a relaxation of both dorsal-ventral and rostral-caudal compartmental boundaries. These defects phenocopy many of the abnormalities seen in the Gli3 mutant forebrain, and we show that Gli3 proteolytic processing is reduced, leading to an accumulation of the full-length activator isoform. In addition, we observe an upregulation of canonical Wnt signaling in the neocortex and in the caudal forebrain. Interestingly, the ultrastructure and morphology of ventricular cilia in the cobblestone mutants remains intact. Together, these results indicate a critical role for ciliary function in the developing forebrain.

    Funded by: NIDDK NIH HHS: 5 P30 DK074038-02

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2008;28;48;12887-900

  • Serotonin transporter transgenic (SERTcre) mouse line reveals developmental targets of serotonin specific reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

    Narboux-Nême N, Pavone LM, Avallone L, Zhuang X and Gaspar P

    Inserm, UMR-S 839, Paris, France.

    The serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4; synonyms, SERT, 5-HTT) is expressed much more broadly during development than in adulthood. To obtain a full picture of all sites of SERT expression during development we used a new mouse model where Cre recombinase was inserted into the gene encoding the serotonin transporter. Two reporter mouse lines, ROSA26R and the Tau(mGFP), allowed to map all the cells that express SERT at any point during development. Combined LacZ histochemistry and GFP immunolabelling showed neuronal cell bodies and axon fiber tracts. Earliest recombination in embryos was visible in the periphery in the heart and liver by E10.5 followed by recombination in the brain in raphe serotonergic neurons by E12.5. Further, recombination in non-serotonin neurons was visible in the choroid plexus, roof plate, and neural crest derivatives; by E15.5, recombination was found in the dorsal thalamus, cingulate cortex, CA3 field of the hippocampus, retinal ganglion cells, superior olivary nucleus and cochlear nucleus. Postnatally, SERT mediated recombination was visible in the medial prefrontal cortex and layer VI neurons in the isocortex. Recombined cells were co-labelled with Neu-N, but not with GAD67, and were characterized by long range projections (corpus callosum, fornix, thalamocortical). This fate map of serotonin transporter expressing cells emphasizes the broad expression of SERT in non-serotonin neurons during development and clarifies the localization of SERT expression in the hippocampus and limbic cortex. The identification of targets of SSRIs and serotonin releasers during embryonic and early postnatal life helps understanding the very diverse physiological consequences of administration of these drugs during development.

    Neuropharmacology 2008;55;6;994-1005

  • CD40 ligation mediates plaque-associated tau phosphorylation in beta-amyloid overproducing mice.

    Laporte V, Ait-Ghezala G, Volmar CH, Ganey C, Ganey N, Wood M and Mullan M

    The Roskamp Institute, 2040 Whitfield Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34243, USA. vlaporte@rfdn.org

    Neuritic dystrophy with amyloid burden and neurofibrillary tangles are pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease. Genetic disruption of CD40 or CD40L alleviates amyloid burden, astrocytosis, and microgliosis in transgenic animal models of Alzheimer's disease. It has been reported that phosphorylated tau-positive dystrophic neurites are observed in transgenic mice over-expressing human mutant beta-amyloid precursor protein (Tg2576). Here, we studied the pattern of phosphorylated tau (labeled with AT8, CP13, PG5, and PHF1 antibodies) and plaques using immunohistochemical techniques. Phosphorylated tau-positive dystrophic neurites were exclusively associated with Congo red-positive plaques as previously reported. Further, we show that CD40L or CD40 deficiency reduces the mean ratio of dystrophic neurite area to congophilic plaque area and the level of expression of cdk5 and p35/p25 in mice. In addition, we show that in a human neuroblastoma cell line treated with CD40L, cdk5 and p35/p25 are increased. Together, our data suggest that CD40-CD40L interaction has an effect on tau phosphorylation independent of beta-amyloid pathology, and that this effect may occur through a decrease of cdk5 and p35/p25.

    Brain research 2008;1231;132-42

  • p73 regulates neurodegeneration and phospho-tau accumulation during aging and Alzheimer's disease.

    Wetzel MK, Naska S, Laliberté CL, Rymar VV, Fujitani M, Biernaskie JA, Cole CJ, Lerch JP, Spring S, Wang SH, Frankland PW, Henkelman RM, Josselyn SA, Sadikot AF, Miller FD and Kaplan DR

    Cell Biology, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec H3A2B4, Canada.

    The genetic mechanisms that regulate neurodegeneration are only poorly understood. We show that the loss of one allele of the p53 family member, p73, makes mice susceptible to neurodegeneration as a consequence of aging or Alzheimer's disease (AD). Behavioral analyses demonstrated that old, but not young, p73+/- mice displayed reduced motor and cognitive function, CNS atrophy, and neuronal degeneration. Unexpectedly, brains of aged p73+/- mice demonstrated dramatic accumulations of phospho-tau (P-tau)-positive filaments. Moreover, when crossed to a mouse model of AD expressing a mutant amyloid precursor protein, brains of these mice showed neuronal degeneration and early and robust formation of tangle-like structures containing P-tau. The increase in P-tau was likely mediated by JNK; in p73+/- neurons, the activity of the p73 target JNK was enhanced, and JNK regulated P-tau levels. Thus, p73 is essential for preventing neurodegeneration, and haploinsufficiency for p73 may be a susceptibility factor for AD and other neurodegenerative disorders.

    Neuron 2008;59;5;708-21

  • Divergent phosphorylation pattern of tau in P301L tau transgenic mice.

    Deters N, Ittner LM and Götz J

    Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease Laboratory, Brain & Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney, 100 Mallett St, Camperdown, NSW 2050, Australia.

    Aggregates of hyperphosphorylated tau are prominent in brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease or frontotemporal dementia (FTD). They have been reproduced in animal models following the identification of tau mutations in familial cases of FTD. This includes our previously generated transgenic model, pR5, which expresses FTD (P301L) mutant tau in neurons. The mice are characterized by tau aggregation including tangle (NFT) formation, memory impairment and mitochondrial dysfunction. In 8-month-old mice, S422 phosphorylation of tau is linked to NFT formation, however, a detailed analysis of tau solubility, phosphorylation and aggregation has not been done nor have the mice been monitored until a high age. Here, we undertook an analysis by immunohistochemistry, Gallyas impregnation and Western blotting of brains from 3 month- up to 20 month-old mice. NFTs first appeared at 6 months in the amygdala, followed by the CA1 region of the hippocampus. As the mice get older, the solubility of tau is decreased as determined by sequential extractions. Histological analysis revealed increased phosphorylation at the AT180, AT270 and 12E8 epitopes with ageing. The numbers of AT8-positive neurons increased from 3 to 6 months old. However, whereas S422 appeared only late and concomitantly with NFT formation, the only neurons left with AT8-reactivity at 20 months were those that had undergone NFT formation. As hyperphosphorylated tau continued to accumulate, the lack of AT8-reactivity suggests regulatory mechanisms in specifically dephosphorylating the AT8 epitope in the remaining neurons. Thus, differential regulation of phosphorylation is important for NFT formation in neurodegenerative diseases with tau pathology.

    The European journal of neuroscience 2008;28;1;137-47

  • Genetic inactivation of p62 leads to accumulation of hyperphosphorylated tau and neurodegeneration.

    Ramesh Babu J, Lamar Seibenhener M, Peng J, Strom AL, Kemppainen R, Cox N, Zhu H, Wooten MC, Diaz-Meco MT, Moscat J and Wooten MW

    Department of Biological Sciences, Program in Cellular and Molecular Biosciences, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama 36849, USA.

    The signaling adapter p62 plays a coordinating role in mediating phosphorylation and ubiquitin-dependent trafficking of interacting proteins. However, there is little known about the physiologic role of this protein in brain. Here, we report age-dependent constitutive activation of glycogen synthase kinase 3beta, protein kinase B, mitogen-activated protein kinase, and c-Jun-N-terminal kinase in adult p62(-/-) mice resulting in hyperphosphorylated tau, neurofibrillary tangles, and neurodegeneration. Biochemical fractionation of p62(-/-) brain led to recovery of aggregated K63-ubiquitinated tau. Loss of p62 was manifested by increased anxiety, depression, loss of working memory, and reduced serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels. Our findings reveal a novel role for p62 as a chaperone that regulates tau solubility thereby preventing tau aggregation. This study provides a clear demonstration of an Alzheimer-like phenotype in a mouse model in the absence of expression of human genes carrying mutations in amyloid-beta protein precursor, presenilin, or tau. Thus, these findings provide new insight into manifestation of sporadic Alzheimer disease and the impact of obesity.

    Funded by: NINDS NIH HHS: NS-33661

    Journal of neurochemistry 2008;106;1;107-20

  • Females exhibit more extensive amyloid, but not tau, pathology in an Alzheimer transgenic model.

    Hirata-Fukae C, Li HF, Hoe HS, Gray AJ, Minami SS, Hamada K, Niikura T, Hua F, Tsukagoshi-Nagai H, Horikoshi-Sakuraba Y, Mughal M, Rebeck GW, LaFerla FM, Mattson MP, Iwata N, Saido TC, Klein WL, Duff KE, Aisen PS and Matsuoka Y

    Department of Neurology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20057, USA.

    Epidemiological studies indicate that women have a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD) even after adjustment for age. Though transgenic mouse models of AD develop AD-related amyloid beta (Abeta) and/or tau pathology, gender differences have not been well documented in these models. In this study, we found that female 3xTg-AD transgenic mice expressing mutant APP, presenilin-1 and tau have significantly more aggressive Abeta pathology. We also found an increase in beta-secretase activity and a reduction of neprilysin in female mice compared to males; this suggests that a combination of increased Abeta production and decreased Abeta degradation may contribute to higher risk of AD in females. In contrast to significantly more aggressive Abeta pathology in females, gender did not affect the levels of phosphorylated tau in 3xTg-AD mice. These results point to the involvement of Abeta pathways in the higher risk of AD in women. In addition to comparison of pathology between genders at 9, 16 and 23 months of age, we examined the progression of Abeta pathology at additional age points; i.e., brain Abeta load, intraneuronal oligomeric Abeta distribution and plaque load, in male 3xTg-AD mice at 3, 6, 9, 12, 16, 20 and 23 months of age. These findings confirm progressive Abeta pathology in 3xTg-AD transgenic mice, and provide guidance for their use in therapeutic research.

    Funded by: Intramural NIH HHS; NIA NIH HHS: AG022455, AG026478

    Brain research 2008;1216;92-103

  • Microglial activation in brain lesions with tau deposits: comparison of human tauopathies and tau transgenic mice TgTauP301L.

    Sasaki A, Kawarabayashi T, Murakami T, Matsubara E, Ikeda M, Hagiwara H, Westaway D, George-Hyslop PS, Shoji M and Nakazato Y

    Department of Human Pathology, Gunma University Graduate School of Medicine, Gunma, Japan. achie@med.gunma-u.ac.jp

    The aim of this study is to clarify the relationship of microglia to phosphorylated tau accumulation and the characteristics of microglial activation in brain lesions of human tauopathies in comparison to mutant tau transgenic (TG) mice. We performed immunocytochemical analyses of brains from six patients with tauopathies, and 24 mice (18 TG mice expressing mutant tau P301L and six non-TG control mice, 11 to 27 months of age) using anti-tau antibodies and various microglial markers. In the tau TG, both semiquantitative severity ratings of microglial activation and an ultrastructural study were performed. In human tauopathies, Iba1- and major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II-positive activated microglia increased in regions of phosphorylated tau (AT8) accumulation. The immunoreactivity of scavenger receptor class A (SRA) was present in some activated microglia, including phagocytic microglia in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Double-immunofluorescent analysis under a confocal microscope showed activated microglia at the vicinity of AT8-positive cells. Semiquantitative data of the TG and control mice indicated that the immunopositivity of AT8 was closely associated with the number of Iba1-positive microglia in the cortical area. Tau-associated microglia showed rare immunoreactivity for MHC class II antigen and SRA in the TG mice. Ultrastructurally, activated microglia with enlarged cytoplasm were located near neurons containing abnormal cytoskeletons. This comparative study of human tauopathies and tau TG mice indicated that microglial activation was closely related to phosphorylated tau accumulation, and that activated microglia of the TG mice may have the low expression of MHC class II and SRA compared with those of human tauopathies.

    Brain research 2008;1214;159-68

  • Neuron-specific recombination by Cre recombinase inserted into the murine tau locus.

    Muramatsu K, Hashimoto Y, Uemura T, Kunii M, Harada R, Sato T, Morikawa A and Harada A

    Laboratory of Molecular Traffic, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Institute for Molecular and Cellular Regulation, Gunma University, 3-39-15 Showa, Maebashi, Gunma 371-8512, Japan.

    To determine the neuronal function of genes in vivo, the neuron-specific deletion of a target gene in animals is required. Tau, a microtubule-associated protein, is expressed abundantly in neurons but scarcely in glias and other tissues. Therefore, to generate mice that express Cre recombinase in neurons, we inserted Cre recombinase into the tau locus. By crossing these tau-Cre mice with ROSA26 lacZ reporter mice, we observed Cre recombinase activity in the neurons from most of the central nervous system, but not in glias nor in non-neuronal tissues. This neuronal-specific activity appeared during embryogenesis. We further crossed tau-Cre mice with rab8 'floxed' mice, and showed that the recombination was nearly complete in the brain, but incomplete or non-detectable in other tissues. Thus, tau-Cre knockin mouse is a useful tool for studying the neuronal function of a gene in vivo.

    Biochemical and biophysical research communications 2008;370;3;419-23

  • Memory and exploratory impairment in mice that lack the Park-2 gene and that over-express the human FTDP-17 mutant Tau.

    Navarro P, Guerrero R, Gallego E, Avila J, Luquin R, Ruiz PJ and Sanchez MP

    Fundacion Jimenez Diaz-Capio/Clinica Ntra Sra Concepcion, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain.

    While mutations in the Park-2 gene are the most frequent cause of autosomal-recessive juvenile parkinsonism (AR-JP), they are also present in several forms of tauopathies. Conversely, in some forms of parkinsonism, mutations in the tau gene have also been observed. Deletion of the Park-2 gene and over-expression of mutant tau independently produce mild brain alterations in mice. However, the presence of both mutations simultaneously causes a tau neuropathology, involving reactive astrocytosis, neuron loss in the cortex and hippocampus, and lesions in nigrostriatal and motor neurons. Furthermore, mutant tau over-expression in mice produces important memory impairment. When "parkin" function was abolished in young tau transgenic mice, the memory alterations were exaggerated. Moreover, additional exploratory and motor deficits were observed in older mice, causing the memory alterations to be underestimated. Thus, while memory deficits are more severe in young mice they were somehow attenuated by exploratory impairments in ageing mutants. This double mutant animal will serve as a useful experimental tool to investigate the abnormal processing of hyperphosphorylated tau and its relationship to the development of the cognitive deficits associated with certain neurodegenerative diseases.

    Behavioural brain research 2008;189;2;350-6

  • 17beta-estradiol attenuates glycogen synthase kinase-3beta activation and tau hyperphosphorylation in Akt-independent manner.

    Shi HR, Zhu LQ, Wang SH, Liu XA, Tian Q, Zhang Q, Wang Q and Wang JZ

    Department of Pathophysiology, Key Laboratory of Neurological Disease of Ministry of Education and Hubei Province, Tongji Medical College, HuaZhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, PR China.

    Decline of estrogen is associated with high incidence of Alzheimer's disease (AD) characterized pathologically with tau hyperphosphorylation, and glycogen synthase kinase-3beta (GSK-3beta) is a major tau kinase. However, the role of estrogen on GSK3beta-induced tau hyperphosphorylation is elusive. Here, we treated N2a cells with wortmannin (Wort) and GF-109203X (GFX) or gene transfection to activate GSK-3beta and to induce tau hyperphosphorylation and then the effects of 17beta-estradiol (betaE2) on tau phosphorylation and GSK-3beta activity were studied. We found that betaE2 could attenuate tau hyperphosphorylation at multiple AD-related sites, including Ser396/404, Thr231, Thr205, and Ser199/202, induced by Wort/GFX or transient overexpression of GSK-3beta. Simultaneously, it increased the level of Ser9-phosphorylated (inactive) GSK-3beta. To study whether the protective effect of betaE2 on GSK-3beta and tau phosphorylation involves protein kinase B (Akt), an upstream effector of GSK-3, we transiently expressed the dominant negative Akt (dnAkt) in the cells. We found that betaE2 could attenuate Wort/GFX-induced GSK-3beta activation and tau hyperphosphorylation with Akt-independent manner. It suggests that betaE2 may arrest AD-like tau hyperphosphorylation by directly targeting GSK-3beta.

    Journal of neural transmission (Vienna, Austria : 1996) 2008;115;6;879-88

  • Active c-jun N-terminal kinase induces caspase cleavage of tau and additional phosphorylation by GSK-3beta is required for tau aggregation.

    Sahara N, Murayama M, Lee B, Park JM, Lagalwar S, Binder LI and Takashima A

    Laboratory for Alzheimer' Disease, RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Wako-shi, Saitama 351-0198, Japan.

    Neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), comprising human intracellular microtubule-associated protein tau, are one of the hallmarks of tauopathies, including Alzheimer's disease. Recently, a report that caspase-cleaved tau is present in NFTs has led to the hypothesis that the mechanisms underlying NFT formation may involve the apoptosis cascade. Here, we show that adenoviral infection of tau into COS-7 cells induces activation of c-jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), followed by excessive phosphorylation of tau and its cleavage by caspase. However, JNK activation alone was insufficient to induce sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS)-insoluble tau aggregation and additional phosphorylation by GSK-3beta was required. In SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells, overexpression of active JNK and GSK-3beta increased caspase-3 activation and cytotoxicity more than overexpression of tau alone. Taken together, these results indicate that, although JNK activation may be a primary inducing factor, further phosphorylation of tau is required for neuronal death and NFT formation in neurodegenerative diseases, including those characterized by tauopathy.

    The European journal of neuroscience 2008;27;11;2897-906

  • Enkephalin elevations contribute to neuronal and behavioral impairments in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.

    Meilandt WJ, Yu GQ, Chin J, Roberson ED, Palop JJ, Wu T, Scearce-Levie K and Mucke L

    Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease, San Francisco, California 94158, USA.

    The enkephalin signaling pathway regulates various neural functions and can be altered by neurodegenerative disorders. In Alzheimer's disease (AD), elevated enkephalin levels may reflect compensatory processes or contribute to cognitive impairments. To differentiate between these possibilities, we studied transgenic mice that express human amyloid precursor protein (hAPP) and amyloid-beta (Abeta) peptides in neurons and exhibit key aspects of AD. Met-enkephalin levels in neuronal projections from the entorhinal cortex and dentate gyrus (brain regions important for memory that are affected in early stages of AD) were increased in hAPP mice, as were preproenkephalin mRNA levels. Genetic manipulations that exacerbate or prevent excitotoxicity also exacerbated or prevented the enkephalin alterations. In human AD brains, enkephalin levels in the dentate gyrus were also increased. In hAPP mice, enkephalin elevations correlated with the extent of Abeta-dependent neuronal and behavioral alterations, and memory deficits were reduced by irreversible blockade of mu-opioid receptors with the antagonist beta-funaltrexamine. We conclude that enkephalin elevations may contribute to cognitive impairments in hAPP mice and possibly in humans with AD. The therapeutic potential of reducing enkephalin production or signaling merits further exploration.

    Funded by: NCRR NIH HHS: C06 RR018928-01, RR018928; NIA NIH HHS: AG022074, AG023501, P01 AG022074-06; NINDS NIH HHS: K08 NS054811-01, K08 NS054811-02, K08 NS054811-03, K08 NS054811-04, K08 NS054811-05, K08 NS054811-06, NS041787, R01 NS041787-08

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2008;28;19;5007-17

  • Apoptosis in transgenic mice expressing the P301L mutated form of human tau.

    Ramalho RM, Viana RJ, Castro RE, Steer CJ, Low WC and Rodrigues CM

    iMed.UL, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lisbon, Av. Prof. Gama Pinto, Lisbon, Portugal.

    The rTg4510 mouse is a tauopathy model, characterized by massive neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease (AD)-relevant cortical and limbic structures, deficits in spatial reference memory, and progression of neurofibrillary tangles (NFT). In this study, we examined the role of apoptosis in neuronal loss and associated tau pathology. The results showed that DNA fragmentation and caspase-3 activation are common in the hippocampus and frontal cortex of young rTg4510 mice. These changes were associated with cleavage of tau into smaller intermediate fragments, which persist with age. Interestingly, active caspase-3 was often co-localized with cleaved tau. In vitro, fibrillar Abeta(1-42) resulted in nuclear fragmentation, caspase activation, and caspase-3-induced cleavage of tau. Notably, incubation with the antiapoptotic molecule tauroursodeoxycholic acid abrogated apoptosis-mediated cleavage of tau in rat cortical neurons. In conclusion, caspase-3-cleaved intermediate tau species occurred early in rTg54510 brains and preceded cell loss in Abeta-exposed cultured neurons. These results suggest a potential role of apoptosis in neurodegeneration.

    Molecular medicine (Cambridge, Mass.) 2008;14;5-6;309-17

  • Pin1 has opposite effects on wild-type and P301L tau stability and tauopathy.

    Lim J, Balastik M, Lee TH, Nakamura K, Liou YC, Sun A, Finn G, Pastorino L, Lee VM and Lu KP

    Cancer Biology Program, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

    Tau pathology is a hallmark of many neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer disease (AD) and frontotemporal dementia with Parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 (FTDP-17). Genetic tau mutations can cause FTDP-17, and mice overexpressing tau mutants such as P301L tau are used as AD models. However, since no tau mutations are found in AD, it remains unclear how appropriate tau mutant mice are as an AD model. The prolyl isomerase Pin1 binds and isomerizes tau and has been implicated in protecting against neurodegeneration, but whether such Pin1 regulation is affected by tau mutations is unknown. Consistent with earlier findings that Pin1 KO induces tauopathy, here we demonstrate that Pin1 knockdown or KO increased WT tau protein stability in vitro and in mice and that Pin1 overexpression suppressed the tauopathy phenotype in WT tau transgenic mice. Unexpectedly, Pin1 knockdown or KO decreased P301L tau protein stability and abolished its robust tauopathy phenotype in mice. In contrast, Pin1 overexpression exacerbated the tauopathy phenotype in P301L tau mice. Thus, Pin1 has opposite effects on the tauopathy phenotype depending on whether the tau is WT or a P301L mutant, indicating the need for disease-specific therapies for tauopathies.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: AG17870, AG22082, R01 AG017870, R01 AG022082

    The Journal of clinical investigation 2008;118;5;1877-89

  • Neuron-specific and inducible recombination by Cre recombinase in the mouse.

    Hashimoto Y, Muramatsu K, Uemura T, Harada R, Sato T, Okamoto K and Harada A

    Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Gunma University Graduate School of Medicine, Maebashi, Gunma, Japan.

    To investigate the neuronal function of genes in vivo, a neuron-specific and inducible gene targeting system is desirable. In this study, we generated a knockin mouse line that expresses a fusion protein consisting of the Cre recombinase and the progesterone receptor (CrePR) in neurons. The neuron-specific expression of CrePR was attained by inserting CrePR gene into the tau locus, because tau is expressed strongly in neurons but scarcely in glias and other tissues. By crossing this knockin mouse line (tau(CrePR)) with ROSA26 lacZ reporter mouse line (R26R), we observed that the antiprogesterone RU486 could induce recombinase activity of the CrePR specifically in neurons. Thus, tau (CrePR) knockin line is a useful tool for studying neuronal gene functions.

    Neuroreport 2008;19;6;621-4

  • Protein 600 is a microtubule/endoplasmic reticulum-associated protein in CNS neurons.

    Shim SY, Wang J, Asada N, Neumayer G, Tran HC, Ishiguro K, Sanada K, Nakatani Y and Nguyen MD

    Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 4N1.

    There is an increasing body of literature pointing to cytoskeletal proteins as spatial organizers and interactors of organelles. In this study, we identified protein 600 (p600) as a novel microtubule-associated protein (MAP) developmentally regulated in neurons. p600 exhibits the unique feature to interact with the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Silencing of p600 by RNA interference (RNAi) destabilizes neuronal processes in young primary neurons undergoing neurite extension and containing scarce staining of the ER marker Bip. Furthermore, in utero electroporation of p600 RNAi alters neuronal migration, a process that depends on synergistic actions of microtubule dynamics and ER functions. p600-depleted migrating neurons display thin, crooked, and "zigzag" leading process with very few ER membranes. Thus, p600 constitutes the only known MAP to associate with the ER in neurons, and this interaction may impact on multiple cellular processes ranging from neuronal development to neuronal maturation and plasticity.

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2008;28;14;3604-14

  • Differential regulation of dynein and kinesin motor proteins by tau.

    Dixit R, Ross JL, Goldman YE and Holzbaur EL

    Department of Physiology and Pennsylvania Muscle Institute, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

    Dynein and kinesin motor proteins transport cellular cargoes toward opposite ends of microtubule tracks. In neurons, microtubules are abundantly decorated with microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) such as tau. Motor proteins thus encounter MAPs frequently along their path. To determine the effects of tau on dynein and kinesin motility, we conducted single-molecule studies of motor proteins moving along tau-decorated microtubules. Dynein tended to reverse direction, whereas kinesin tended to detach at patches of bound tau. Kinesin was inhibited at about a tenth of the tau concentration that inhibited dynein, and the microtubule-binding domain of tau was sufficient to inhibit motor activity. The differential modulation of dynein and kinesin motility suggests that MAPs can spatially regulate the balance of microtubule-dependent axonal transport.

    Funded by: NIAMS NIH HHS: P01 AR051174, P01 AR051174-050002, P01-AR-051174; NIGMS NIH HHS: GM-48661, R01 GM048661, R01 GM048661-16

    Science (New York, N.Y.) 2008;319;5866;1086-9

  • Axonal transport rates in vivo are unaffected by tau deletion or overexpression in mice.

    Yuan A, Kumar A, Peterhoff C, Duff K and Nixon RA

    Center for Dementia Research, Nathan Kline Institute, Orangeburg, New York 10962, USA. yuan@nki.rfmh.org

    Elevated tau expression has been proposed as a possible basis for impaired axonal transport in Alzheimer's disease. To address this hypothesis, we analyzed the movement of pulse radiolabeled proteins in vivo along retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axons of mice that lack tau or overexpress human tau isoforms. Here, we show that the global axonal transport rates of slow and fast transport cargoes in axons are not significantly impaired when tau expression is eliminated or increased. In addition, markers of slow transport (neurofilament light subunit) and fast transport (snap25) do not accumulate in retinas and are distributed normally along optic axons in mice that lack or overexpress tau. Finally, ultrastructural analyses revealed no abnormal accumulations of vesicular organelles or neurofilaments in RGC perikarya or axons in mice overexpressing or lacking tau. These results suggest that tau is not essential for axonal transport and that transport rates in vivo are not significantly affected by substantial fluctuations in tau expression.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: 5R01AG005604, R01 AG005604-20; NINDS NIH HHS: 5P01NS048447

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2008;28;7;1682-7

  • Biosynthesis and processing of endogenous BDNF: CNS neurons store and secrete BDNF, not pro-BDNF.

    Matsumoto T, Rauskolb S, Polack M, Klose J, Kolbeck R, Korte M and Barde YA

    Biozentrum, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 50/70, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland.

    Pro- and mature BDNF activate very different receptors and intracellular pathways, potentially leading to either neuronal death or survival. Here we examined the biochemistry of endogenous BDNF in mouse neurons using sensitive reagents and found that pro-BDNF is rapidly converted intracellularly to mature BDNF, the latter being stored and released by excitatory input.

    Nature neuroscience 2008;11;2;131-3

  • Tau inhibits anterograde axonal transport and perturbs stability in growing axonal neurites in part by displacing kinesin cargo: neurofilaments attenuate tau-mediated neurite instability.

    Dubey M, Chaudhury P, Kabiru H and Shea TB

    Center for Cell Neurobiology and Neurodegeneration Research, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts 01854, USA.

    Overexpression of tau compromises axonal transport and induces retraction of growing neurites. We tested the hypothesis that increased stability provided by neurofilaments (NFs) may prevent axonal retraction. NB2a/d1 cells were differentiated for 3 days, at which time phosphorylated NFs appear and for 14 days, which induces continued neurite elongation and further phospho-NF accumulation. Cultures were transfected with a construct that expresses full-length, 4-repeat tau. Consistent with prior studies, overexpression of tau induced retraction of day three axonal neurites even following treatment with the microtubule-stabilizing drug taxol. Axonal neurites of day 14 cells were more resistant to tau-mediated retraction. To test whether or not this resistance was derived from their additional NF content, day 3 cultures were co-transfected with constructs expressing tau and NF-M (which increases overall axonal NFs). Overexpression of NF-M attenuated tau-mediated retraction of day 3 axonal neurites. By contrast, co-transfection with constructs expressing tau and vimentin (which increases axonal neurites length) did not attenuate tau-mediated neurite retraction. Co-precipitation experiments indicate that tau is a cargo of kinesin, and that tau overexpression may displace other kinesin-based cargo, including both critical cytoskeletal proteins and organelles. However, cultures simultaneously transfected with constructs expressing NF-M and tau, the level of examined vesicles was maintained. These collectively indicate that NFs stabilize developing axonal neurites and can counteract the destabilizing force resulting from overexpression of tau, and underscore that the development and stabilization of axonal neurites is dependent upon a balance of cytoskeletal elements.

    Cell motility and the cytoskeleton 2008;65;2;89-99

  • Coupling of mammalian target of rapamycin with phosphoinositide 3-kinase signaling pathway regulates protein phosphatase 2A- and glycogen synthase kinase-3 -dependent phosphorylation of Tau.

    Meske V, Albert F and Ohm TG

    Center of Anatomy, Institute of Integrative Neuroanatomy, Department of Clinical Cell and Neurobiology, Charité, Charité-Platz 1, 10098 Berlin, Germany. V.Meske@gmx.de

    Tau is an important microtubule-stabilizing protein in neurons. In its hyperphosphorylated form, Tau protein loses its ability to bind to microtubules and then accumulates and is part of pathological lesions characterizing tauopathies, e.g. Alzheimer disease. Glycogen synthase kinase-3beta (GSK-3beta), antagonized by protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A), regulates Tau phosphorylation at many sites. Diabetes mellitus is linked to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer disease. This could be partially caused by dysregulated GSK-3beta. In a long term experiment (-16 h) using primary murine neuron cultures, we interfered in the insulin/phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) (LY294002 treatment and insulin boost) and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTor) (AICAR and rapamycin treatment) signaling pathways and examined consequent changes in the activities of PP2A, GSK-3beta, and Tau phosphorylation. We found that the coupling of PI3K with mTor signaling, in conjunction with a regulatory interaction between PP2A and GSK-3beta, changed activities of both enzymes always in the same direction. These balanced responses seem to ensure the steady Tau phosphorylation at GSK/PP2A-dependent sites observed over a long period of time (>/=6 h). This may help in preventing severe changes in Tau phosphorylation under conditions when neurons undergo transient fluctuations either in insulin or nutrient supply. On the other hand, the investigation of Tau protein at Ser-262 showed that interference in the insulin/PI3K and mTor signaling potentially influenced the Tau phosphorylation status at sites where only one of two enzymes (in this case PP2A) is involved in the regulation.

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2008;283;1;100-9

  • Analysis of tau phosphorylation and truncation in a mouse model of human tauopathy.

    Delobel P, Lavenir I, Fraser G, Ingram E, Holzer M, Ghetti B, Spillantini MG, Crowther RA and Goedert M

    Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 OQH, UK.

    Recent evidence has suggested that truncation of tau protein at the caspase cleavage site D421 precedes hyperphosphorylation and may be necessary for the assembly of tau into filaments in Alzheimer's disease and other tauopathies. Here we have investigated the time course of the appearance of phosphorylated and truncated tau in the brain and spinal cord of mice transgenic for mutant human P301S tau protein. This mouse line recapitulates the essential molecular and cellular features of the human tauopathies, including tau hyperphosphorylation, tau filament formation, and neurodegeneration. Soluble tau was strongly phosphorylated at 1 to 6 months of age. Low levels of phosphorylated, sarkosyl-insoluble tau were detected at 2 months, with a steady increase up to 6 months of age. Tau truncated at D421 was detected at low levels in Tris-soluble and detergent-soluble tau at 3 to 6 months of age. By immunoblotting, it was not detected in sarkosyl-insoluble tau. However, by immunoelectron microscopy, a small percentage of tau in filaments from brain and spinal cord of transgenic mice was truncated at D421. Similar findings were obtained using dispersed filaments from Alzheimer's disease and FTDP-17 brains. The late appearance and low abundance of tau ending at D421 indicate that it is unlikely that truncation at this site is necessary for the assembly of tau into filaments.

    Funded by: Medical Research Council: MC_U105184291, MC_U105184319; NIA NIH HHS: P30 AG010133, P30AG10133

    The American journal of pathology 2008;172;1;123-31

  • Hippocampus of Ames dwarf mice is resistant to beta-amyloid-induced tau hyperphosphorylation and changes in apoptosis-regulatory protein levels.

    Schrag M, Sharma S, Brown-Borg H and Ghribi O

    Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Therapeutics, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota 58202, USA.

    The Ames dwarf mouse has a long lifespan and is characterized by a marked resistance to cellular stress, an event that is implicated in the pathogenesis of many neurodegenerative disorders that are associated with aging, including Alzheimer's disease. However, very little is known on the extent to which the Ames dwarf mouse is protected against Alzheimer's disease. We have developed an organotypic slice system cultured from hippocampi of adult dwarf mice and examined deleterious effects of beta-amyloid (Abeta) peptide, a key pathogenic event in the course of Alzheimer's disease. We present the first evidence that long living Ames mice resist beta-amyloid toxicity. We demonstrate that organotypic slices from adult dwarf mice, but not their normal phenotype counterparts (wild type), are resistant to Abeta25-35-induced hyperphosphorylation of tau protein, reduction in levels of the antiapoptotic protein Bcl-2, increase in levels of the pro-apoptotic protein Bax, and activation of caspase 3. Moreover, incubation of organotypic sections with the GSK-3beta inhibitor SB216763 prevented tau phosphorylation but not alterations in levels of Bcl-2, Bax, and caspase-3. Because the hippocampus is a brain area that is severely affected in Alzheimer's disease, our study proposes that organotypic slices from hippocampi of adult Ames dwarf mice may constitute a model system for understanding endogenous factors that may confer protection against Abeta.

    Funded by: NCRR NIH HHS: 5P20RR017699; NIA NIH HHS: R15 AG16667

    Hippocampus 2008;18;3;239-44

  • BAG-1 associates with Hsc70.Tau complex and regulates the proteasomal degradation of Tau protein.

    Elliott E, Tsvetkov P and Ginzburg I

    Department of Neurobiology, Weizmann Insitute of Science, Rehovot, Israel 76100.

    Intraneuronal accumulation of phosphorylated Tau protein is a molecular pathology found in many forms of dementia, including Alzheimer disease. Research into possible mechanisms leading to the accumulation of modified Tau protein and the possibility of removing Tau protein from the system have revealed that the chaperone protein system can interact with Tau and mediate its degradation. Hsp70/Hsc70, a member of the chaperone protein family, interacts with Tau protein and mediates proper folding of Tau and can promote degradation of Tau protein under certain circumstances. However, because Hsp70/Hsc70 has many binding partners that can mediate its activity, there is still much to discover about how Hsp70 acts in vivo to regulate Tau protein. BAG-1, an Hsp70/Hsc70 binding partner, has been implicated as a mediator of neuronal function. In this work we show that BAG-1 associates with Tau protein in an Hsc70-dependent manner. Overexpression of BAG-1 induced an increase in Tau levels, which is shown to be due to an inhibition of protein degradation. We further show that BAG-1 can inhibit the degradation of Tau protein by the 20 S proteasome but does not affect the ubiquitination of Tau protein. RNA-mediated interference depletion of BAG-1 leads to a decrease in total Tau protein levels as well as promoting hyperphosphorylation of the remaining protein. Induction of Hsp70 by heat shock enhanced the increase of Tau levels in cells overexpressing BAG-1 but induced a decrease of Tau levels in cells that were depleted of BAG-1. Finally, BAG-1 is highly expressed in neurons bearing Tau tangles in a mouse model of Alzheimer disease. This data suggests a molecular mechanism through which Tau protein levels are regulated in the cell and possible consequences for the pathology and treatment of Alzheimer disease.

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2007;282;51;37276-84

  • Kinase activities increase during the development of tauopathy in htau mice.

    Kelleher I, Garwood C, Hanger DP, Anderton BH and Noble W

    King's College London, Department of Neuroscience, MRC Centre for Neurodegeneration Research, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London, UK.

    Hyperphosphorylated tau aggregates are the core constituent of neurofibrillary tangles. Recent research has shown a division between the presence of tangles, neurodegeneration and subsequent memory impairment, raising the possibility that an earlier pre-aggregated form of tau may be toxic. To gain further insight into the relationship between abnormal forms of tau, we have analyzed pathological changes in tau during tauopathy development in tangle-forming transgenic mice. In addition, we have quantified changes in the endogenous levels of a panel of protein kinases. We show progressive increases in aggregated tau and disease-specific conformational change, with hyperphosphorylation occurring in an age-dependent manner at specific sites. There were significant correlations between specific phosphorylation changes and amounts of aggregated tau and and abnormal tau conformations. Of the protein kinases tested, we found increases in phosphorylated (activated) p38 and the cyclin-dependent kinase-5 neuronal activators, p35 and p25, with aging, in the htau line, but not in non-tangle-forming control mice. Changes in tau kinases correlated with the amount of tau present in abnormal conformations and with insoluble tau in htau mice. These data suggest that cdk5 and p38 may be associated with pathological changes in wild-type human tau during the progressive development of tauopathy.

    Journal of neurochemistry 2007;103;6;2256-67

  • Cdc42 regulates cofilin during the establishment of neuronal polarity.

    Garvalov BK, Flynn KC, Neukirchen D, Meyn L, Teusch N, Wu X, Brakebusch C, Bamburg JR and Bradke F

    Axonal Growth and Regeneration Group, Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, 82152 Martinsried, Germany.

    The establishment of polarity is an essential process in early neuronal development. Although a number of molecules controlling neuronal polarity have been identified, genetic evidence about their physiological roles in this process is mostly lacking. We analyzed the consequences of loss of Cdc42, a central regulator of polarity in multiple systems, on the polarization of mammalian neurons. Genetic ablation of Cdc42 in the brain led to multiple abnormalities, including striking defects in the formation of axonal tracts. Neurons from the Cdc42 null animals sprouted neurites but had a strongly suppressed ability to form axons both in vivo and in culture. This was accompanied by disrupted cytoskeletal organization, enlargement of the growth cones, and inhibition of filopodial dynamics. Axon formation in the knock-out neurons was rescued by manipulation of the actin cytoskeleton, indicating that the effects of Cdc42 ablation are exerted through modulation of actin dynamics. In addition, the knock-outs showed a specific increase in the phosphorylation (inactivation) of the Cdc42 effector cofilin. Furthermore, the active, nonphosphorylated form of cofilin was enriched in the axonal growth cones of wild-type, but not of mutant, neurons. Importantly, cofilin knockdown resulted in polarity defects quantitatively analogous to the ones seen after Cdc42 ablation. We conclude that Cdc42 is a key regulator of axon specification, and that cofilin is a physiological downstream effector of Cdc42 in this process.

    Funded by: NIDDK NIH HHS: DK69408; NINDS NIH HHS: NS40371, NS43115, NS48660

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2007;27;48;13117-29

  • Interaction of tau protein with the dynactin complex.

    Magnani E, Fan J, Gasparini L, Golding M, Williams M, Schiavo G, Goedert M, Amos LA and Spillantini MG

    Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Brain Repair Centre, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

    Tau is an axonal microtubule-associated protein involved in microtubule assembly and stabilization. Mutations in Tau cause frontotemporal dementia and parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 (FTDP-17), and tau aggregates are present in Alzheimer's disease and other tauopathies. The mechanisms leading from tau dysfunction to neurodegeneration are still debated. The dynein-activator complex dynactin has an essential role in axonal transport and mutations in its gene are associated with lower motor neuron disease. We show here for the first time that the N-terminal projection domain of tau binds to the C-terminus of the p150 subunit of the dynactin complex. Tau and dynactin show extensive colocalization, and the attachment of the dynactin complex to microtubules is enhanced by tau. Mutations of a conserved arginine residue in the N-terminus of tau, found in patients with FTDP-17, affect its binding to dynactin, which is abnormally distributed in the retinal ganglion cell axons of transgenic mice expressing human tau with a mutation in the microtubule-binding domain. These findings, which suggest a direct involvement of tau in axonal transport, have implications for understanding the pathogenesis of tauopathies.

    Funded by: Medical Research Council: G0301152, MC_U105184291, MC_U105184313, U.1051.04.002(78842)

    The EMBO journal 2007;26;21;4546-54

  • Aberrant excitatory neuronal activity and compensatory remodeling of inhibitory hippocampal circuits in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease.

    Palop JJ, Chin J, Roberson ED, Wang J, Thwin MT, Bien-Ly N, Yoo J, Ho KO, Yu GQ, Kreitzer A, Finkbeiner S, Noebels JL and Mucke L

    Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA. jpalop@gladstone.ucsf.edu

    Neural network dysfunction may play an important role in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Neuronal circuits vulnerable to AD are also affected in human amyloid precursor protein (hAPP) transgenic mice. hAPP mice with high levels of amyloid-beta peptides in the brain develop AD-like abnormalities, including cognitive deficits and depletions of calcium-related proteins in the dentate gyrus, a region critically involved in learning and memory. Here, we report that hAPP mice have spontaneous nonconvulsive seizure activity in cortical and hippocampal networks, which is associated with GABAergic sprouting, enhanced synaptic inhibition, and synaptic plasticity deficits in the dentate gyrus. Many Abeta-induced neuronal alterations could be simulated in nontransgenic mice by excitotoxin challenge and prevented in hAPP mice by blocking overexcitation. Aberrant increases in network excitability and compensatory inhibitory mechanisms in the hippocampus may contribute to Abeta-induced neurological deficits in hAPP mice and, possibly, also in humans with AD.

    Funded by: NCRR NIH HHS: RR018928; NIA NIH HHS: AG011385, AG022074, AG023501; NICHD NIH HHS: HD024064; NINDS NIH HHS: K08 NS054811, K08 NS054811-02, NS041787, NS29709, NS39074, NS54811

    Neuron 2007;55;5;697-711

  • Up-regulation of tau, a brain microtubule-associated protein, in lens cortical fractions of aged alphaA-, alphaB-, and alphaA/B-crystallin knockout mice.

    Bai F, Xi JH and Andley UP

    Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.

    Purpose: Alpha-crystallin is expressed at high levels in the lens in a complex of alphaA- and alphaB-crystallin subunits in 3:1 molar ratios, and is known to maintain the solubility of unpolymerized tubulin and enhance the resistance of microtubules to depolymerization, but its effect on proteins classically associated with microtubule stability (microtubule associated proteins) in the lens is unknown. In the present study we examined the expression of the brain microtubule associated protein tau in lenses of alpha-crystallin gene knockout mice.

    Methods: Quantitative RT-PCR, immunoblotting, cryo-immunoelectron microscopic and immunohistochemical methods were used to characterize the expression of tau in the lenses of alphaA(-/-)-, alphaB(-/-)-, and alphaA/B(-/-)-crystallin mice.

    Results: Immunoreactivity to tau, a 45-66 kDa brain microtubule associated protein that has been best characterized in neurons and neuronal pathologies, was uniquely upregulated in lens cortical fiber cells with aging and was associated with the microtubule fraction of alphaA(-/-)-, alphaB(-/-)-, and alphaA/B(-/-)-crystallin mouse lenses, but was undetectable in wild type lenses. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis further showed an upregulation of tau transcripts in alphaA(-/-)- and alphaA/B(-/-)-crystallin lenses. Brain microtubule fractions served as a positive control for tau in these experiments. An increase in phosphorylation of tau was detected in alphaA(-/-)- and alphaB(-/-)-crystallin brain proteins.

    Conclusions: Although tau aggregation and alphaB-crystallin expression have been shown to increase in neurodegenerative diseases, surprisingly tau expression increases in the alpha-crystallin knockout lenses, suggesting that alphaA- and alphaB-crystallins are potentially important regulators of tau expression in lens.

    Funded by: NEI NIH HHS: EY02687, R01EY05681

    Molecular vision 2007;13;1589-600

  • Activation of the Wnt-beta catenin pathway in a cell population on the surface of the forebrain is essential for the establishment of olfactory axon connections.

    Zaghetto AA, Paina S, Mantero S, Platonova N, Peretto P, Bovetti S, Puche A, Piccolo S and Merlo GR

    Dulbecco Telethon Institute-Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche Institute for Biomedical Technologies Milano, 20090 Segrate, Italy.

    A variety of signals governing early extension, guidance, and connectivity of olfactory receptor neuron (ORN) axons has been identified; however, little is known about axon-mesoderm and forebrain (FB)-mesoderm signals. Using Wnt-beta catenin reporter mice, we identify a novel Wnt-responsive resident cell population, located in a Frizzled7 expression domain at the surface of the embryonic FB, along the trajectory of incoming ORN axons. Organotypic slice cultures that recapitulate olfactory-associated Wnt-beta catenin activation show that the beta catenin response depends on a placode-derived signal(s). Likewise, in Dlx5-/- embryos, in which the primary connections fail to form, Wnt-beta catenin response on the surface of the FB is strongly reduced. The olfactory placode expresses a number of beta catenin-activating Wnt genes, and the Frizzled7 receptor transduces the "canonical" Wnt signal; using Wnt expression plasmids we show that Wnt5a and Wnt7b are sufficient to rescue beta catenin activation in the absence of incoming axons. Finally, blocking the canonical Wnt pathway with the exogenous application of the antagonists Dikkopf-1 or secreted-Frizzled-receptor protein-2 prevents ORN axon contact to the FB. These data reveal a novel function for Wnt signaling in the establishment of periphery-CNS olfactory connections and highlight a complex interplay between cells of different embryonic origin for ORN axon connectivity.

    Funded by: NIDCD NIH HHS: DC05739, R03 DC005739, R03 DC005739-01, R03 DC005739-02, R03 DC005739-03; Telethon: TCP99003

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2007;27;36;9757-68

  • Early axonopathy preceding neurofibrillary tangles in mutant tau transgenic mice.

    Leroy K, Bretteville A, Schindowski K, Gilissen E, Authelet M, De Decker R, Yilmaz Z, Buée L and Brion JP

    Laboratory of Histology and Neuropathology, Université Libre de Bruxelles, School of Medicine, 808, Route de Lennik, Bldg. G, 1070 Brussels, Belgium.

    Neurodegenerative diseases characterized by brain and spinal cord involvement often show widespread accumulations of tau aggregates. We have generated a transgenic mouse line (Tg30tau) expressing in the forebrain and the spinal cord a human tau protein bearing two pathogenic mutations (P301S and G272V). These mice developed age-dependent brain and hippocampal atrophy, central and peripheral axonopathy, progressive motor impairment with neurogenic muscle atrophy, and neurofibrillary tangles and had decreased survival. Axonal spheroids and axonal atrophy developed early before neurofibrillary tangles. Neurofibrillary inclusions developed in neurons at 3 months and were of two types, suggestive of a selective vulnerability of neurons to form different types of fibrillary aggregates. A first type of tau-positive neurofibrillary tangles, more abundant in the forebrain, were composed of ribbon-like 19-nm-wide filaments and twisted paired helical filaments. A second type of tau and neurofilament-positive neurofibrillary tangles, more abundant in the spinal cord and the brainstem, were composed of 10-nm-wide neurofilaments and straight 19-nm filaments. Unbiased stereological analysis indicated that total number of pyramidal neurons and density of neurons in the lumbar spinal cord were not reduced up to 12 months in Tg30tau mice. This Tg30tau model thus provides evidence that axonopathy precedes tangle formation and that both lesions can be dissociated from overt neuronal loss in selected brain areas but not from neuronal dysfunction.

    The American journal of pathology 2007;171;3;976-92

  • EUCOMM--the European conditional mouse mutagenesis program.

    Friedel RH, Seisenberger C, Kaloff C and Wurst W

    GSF-National Research Center for Environment and Health, Institute of Developmental Genetics, Ingolstaedter Landstrasse 1, 85764 Neuherberg, Germany.

    Functional analysis of the mammalian genome is an enormous challenge for biomedical scientists. To facilitate this endeavour, the European Conditional Mouse Mutagenesis Program (EUCOMM) aims at generating up to 12 000 mutations by gene trapping and up to 8000 mutations by gene targeting in mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells. These mutations can be rendered into conditional alleles, allowing Cre recombinase-mediated disruption of gene function in a time- and tissue-specific manner. Furthermore, the EUCOMM program will generate up to 320 mouse lines from the EUCOMM resource and up to 20 new Cre driver mouse lines. The EUCOMM resource of vectors, mutant ES cell lines and mutant mice will be openly available to the scientific community. EUCOMM will be one of the cornerstones of an international effort to create a global mouse mutant resource.

    Briefings in functional genomics & proteomics 2007;6;3;180-5

  • Impairments in impulse control in mice transgenic for the human FTDP-17 tauV337M mutation are exacerbated by age.

    Lambourne SL, Humby T, Isles AR, Emson PC, Spillantini MG and Wilkinson LS

    Laboratory of Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience, The Babraham Institute, Babraham Research Campus, Cambridge CB2 4AT, UK.

    Abnormalities in microtubule-associated tau protein are a key neuropathological feature of both Alzheimer's disease and many frontotemporal dementias (FTDs), including hereditary FTD with Parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 (FTDP-17). In these disorders, tau becomes aberrantly phosphorylated, leading to the development of filamentous neurofibrillary tangles in the brain. Here we report, in a longitudinal ageing study, the sensorimotor and cognitive assessment of transgenic mice expressing the human tau(V337M) ('Seattle Family A') FTDP-17 mutation, which we have previously shown to demonstrate abnormalities in brain tau phosphorylation. The data indicated highly specific effects of transgene expression on the ability to withhold responding in a murine version of the 5-choice serial reaction time task, behaviour consistent with deficits in impulse control. Ageing exacerbated these effects. In young tau(V337M) mice, increased impulsivity was present under task conditions making inhibition of premature responding more difficult (longer inter-trial intervals) but not under baseline conditions. However, when older, the tau(V337M) mice showed further increases in premature responding, including under baseline conditions. These impulse control deficits were fully dissociable from sensorimotor or motivation effects on performance. The findings recapitulate core abnormalities in impulsive responding observed in both frontal variant FTD and FTDP-17 linked to the tau(V337M) mutation in humans.

    Human molecular genetics 2007;16;14;1708-19

  • 14-3-3 proteins and protein phosphatases are not reduced in tau-deficient mice.

    Fujio K, Sato M, Uemura T, Sato T, Sato-Harada R and Harada A

    Laboratory of Molecular Traffic, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Institute for Molecular and Cellular Regulation, Gunma University, Japan.

    Tau is an axonal microtubule-associated protein, whose dysfunction causes neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and other tauopathies. Earlier studies have shown the interactions of tau with glycogen synthase kinase-3beta, 14-3-3zeta, protein phosphatase 1 and protein phosphatase 2A. In this study, we compared the amounts of these tau-interacting proteins in brain microtubule-enriched fractions from wild-type and tau-deficient mice. Contrary to our expectation, we detected no difference in the amount of these proteins between wild-type and tau-deficient mice. Our findings indicate that only a small portion of tau-interacting proteins are bound to tau in vivo, and suggest the existence of other scaffolding proteins. We propose that tau-deficient mice are an ideal system for confirming the function of tau-interacting proteins.

    Neuroreport 2007;18;10;1049-52

  • Tau-4R suppresses proliferation and promotes neuronal differentiation in the hippocampus of tau knockin/knockout mice.

    Sennvik K, Boekhoorn K, Lasrado R, Terwel D, Verhaeghe S, Korr H, Schmitz C, Tomiyama T, Mori H, Krugers H, Joels M, Ramakers GJ, Lucassen PJ and Van Leuven F

    Experimental Genetics Group, Department Human Genetics, KULeuven-Campus Gasthuisberg ON1-06.602, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium.

    Differential isoform expression and phosphorylation of protein tau are believed to regulate the assembly and stabilization of microtubuli in fetal and adult neurons. To define the functions of tau in the developing and adult brain, we generated transgenic mice expressing the human tau-4R/2N (htau-4R) isoform on a murine tau null background, by a knockout/knockin approach (tau-KOKI). The main findings in these mice were the significant increases in hippocampal volume and neuronal number, which were sustained throughout adult life and paralleled by improved cognitive functioning. The increase in hippocampal size was found to be due to increased neurogenesis and neuronal survival. Proliferation and neuronal differentiation were further analyzed in primary hippocampal cultures from tau-KOKI mice, before and after htau-4R expression onset. In absence of tau, proliferation increased and both neurite and axonal outgrowth were reduced. Htau-4R expression suppressed proliferation, promoted neuronal differentiation, and restored neurite and axonal outgrowth. We suggest that the tau-4R isoform essentially contributes to hippocampal development by controlling proliferation and differentiation of neuronal precursors.

    FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology 2007;21;9;2149-61

  • Tau phosphorylation in the mouse brain during aversive conditioning.

    Fujio J, Hosono H, Ishiguro K, Ikegami S and Fujita SC

    Mitsubishi Kagaku Institute of Life Sciences, 11 Minamiooya, Machida, Tokyo 194-8511, Japan.

    Stress response is intimately involved in memory formation. Stress has been shown to cause reversible Alzheimer-like tau phosphorylation in the brain of experimental animals, but it is not known whether tau phoshorylation takes place during memory acquisition. As an initial investigation we chose contextual fear conditioning paradigm involving electric shocks, and studied tau phosphorylation in the hippocampus and a neighboring limbic region of the mouse brain. Quantitative immunoblot analyses of tissue extracts rapidly prepared from animals undergoing the conditioning showed statistically significant increases in the phosphorylation level at Thr231/Ser235 of tau in both tissues. The reaction reached statistical significance after 10 but not 3 shocks of 0.8mA. Ten shocks of 0.2mA were ineffective. Concurrent increases in phosphorylation of protein kinase TPKI/GSK3beta at Ser9 and of CaMKIIalpha at Thr286 were observed. These results suggest involvement of tau and TPKI/GSK3beta phosphorylation in an early phase of memory formation in the hippocampus and amygdala, raising a possibility that a dysregulation of tau phosphorylation may underlie memory impairment in incipient Alzheimer's disease.

    Neurochemistry international 2007;51;2-4;200-8

  • Dlx transcription factors promote migration through repression of axon and dendrite growth.

    Cobos I, Borello U and Rubenstein JL

    Nina Ireland Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA. inma.cobos@ucsf.edu

    In the mouse telencephalon, Dlx homeobox transcription factors are essential for the tangential migration of subpallial-derived GABAergic interneurons to neocortex. However, the mechanisms underlying this process are poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that Dlx1/2 has a central role in restraining neurite growth of subpallial-derived immature interneurons at a stage when they migrate tangentially to cortex. In Dlx1-/-;Dlx2-/- mutants, neurite length is increased and cells fail to migrate. In Dlx1-/-;Dlx2+/- mutants, while the tangential migration of immature interneurons appears normal, they develop dendritic and axonal processes with increased length and decreased branching, and have deficits in their neocortical laminar positions. Thus, Dlx1/2 is required for coordinating programs of neurite maturation and migration. In this regard, we provide genetic evidence that in immature interneurons Dlx1/2 repression of the p21-activated serine/threonine kinase PAK3, a downstream effector of the Rho family of GTPases, is critical in restraining neurite growth and promoting tangential migration.

    Funded by: NIMH NIH HHS: K05 MH065670, R01 MH049428, R01 MH49428

    Neuron 2007;54;6;873-88

  • Mitochondrial oxidative stress causes hyperphosphorylation of tau.

    Melov S, Adlard PA, Morten K, Johnson F, Golden TR, Hinerfeld D, Schilling B, Mavros C, Masters CL, Volitakis I, Li QX, Laughton K, Hubbard A, Cherny RA, Gibson B and Bush AI

    Buck Institute for Age Research, Novato, California, United States of America. smelov@buckinstitute.org

    Age-related neurodegenerative disease has been mechanistically linked with mitochondrial dysfunction via damage from reactive oxygen species produced within the cell. We determined whether increased mitochondrial oxidative stress could modulate or regulate two of the key neurochemical hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease (AD): tau phosphorylation, and beta-amyloid deposition. Mice lacking superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) die within the first week of life, and develop a complex heterogeneous phenotype arising from mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress. Treatment of these mice with catalytic antioxidants increases their lifespan and rescues the peripheral phenotypes, while uncovering central nervous system pathology. We examined sod2 null mice differentially treated with high and low doses of a catalytic antioxidant and observed striking elevations in the levels of tau phosphorylation (at Ser-396 and other phospho-epitopes of tau) in the low-dose antioxidant treated mice at AD-associated residues. This hyperphosphorylation of tau was prevented with an increased dose of the antioxidant, previously reported to be sufficient to prevent neuropathology. We then genetically combined a well-characterized mouse model of AD (Tg2576) with heterozygous sod2 knockout mice to study the interactions between mitochondrial oxidative stress and cerebral Ass load. We found that mitochondrial SOD2 deficiency exacerbates amyloid burden and significantly reduces metal levels in the brain, while increasing levels of Ser-396 phosphorylated tau. These findings mechanistically link mitochondrial oxidative stress with the pathological features of AD.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: AG12686, AG18679, P01 AG025901, P01 AG25901, R01 AG012686, R01 AG018679

    PloS one 2007;2;6;e536

  • LKB1 and SAD kinases define a pathway required for the polarization of cortical neurons.

    Barnes AP, Lilley BN, Pan YA, Plummer LJ, Powell AW, Raines AN, Sanes JR and Polleux F

    Neuroscience Center, Department of Pharmacology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.

    The polarization of axon and dendrites underlies the ability of neurons to integrate and transmit information in the brain. We show here that the serine/threonine kinase LKB1, previously implicated in the establishment of epithelial polarity and control of cell growth, is required for axon specification during neuronal polarization in the mammalian cerebral cortex. LKB1 polarizing activity requires its association with the pseudokinase Stradalpha and phosphorylation by kinases such as PKA and p90RSK, which transduce neurite outgrowth-promoting cues. Once activated, LKB1 phosphorylates and thereby activates SAD-A and SAD-B kinases, which are also required for neuronal polarization in the cerebral cortex. SAD kinases, in turn, phosphorylate effectors such as microtubule-associated proteins that implement polarization. Thus, we provide evidence in vivo and in vitro for a multikinase pathway that links extracellular signals to the intracellular machinery required for axon specification.

    Funded by: NINDS NIH HHS: P30 NS45892-01

    Cell 2007;129;3;549-63

  • Reducing endogenous tau ameliorates amyloid beta-induced deficits in an Alzheimer's disease mouse model.

    Roberson ED, Scearce-Levie K, Palop JJ, Yan F, Cheng IH, Wu T, Gerstein H, Yu GQ and Mucke L

    Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA. eroberson@gladstone.ucsf.edu

    Many potential treatments for Alzheimer's disease target amyloid-beta peptides (Abeta), which are widely presumed to cause the disease. The microtubule-associated protein tau is also involved in the disease, but it is unclear whether treatments aimed at tau could block Abeta-induced cognitive impairments. Here, we found that reducing endogenous tau levels prevented behavioral deficits in transgenic mice expressing human amyloid precursor protein, without altering their high Abeta levels. Tau reduction also protected both transgenic and nontransgenic mice against excitotoxicity. Thus, tau reduction can block Abeta- and excitotoxin-induced neuronal dysfunction and may represent an effective strategy for treating Alzheimer's disease and related conditions.

    Funded by: NCRR NIH HHS: RR18928-01; NIA NIH HHS: AG011385, AG022074; NIMH NIH HHS: MH070588; NINDS NIH HHS: K08 NS054811-01, K08 NS054811-02, K08 NS054811-03, K08 NS054811-04, K08 NS054811-05, K08 NS054811-06, NS054811

    Science (New York, N.Y.) 2007;316;5825;750-4

  • Lbx1 acts as a selector gene in the fate determination of somatosensory and viscerosensory relay neurons in the hindbrain.

    Sieber MA, Storm R, Martinez-de-la-Torre M, Müller T, Wende H, Reuter K, Vasyutina E and Birchmeier C

    Department of Neuroscience, Max-Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin, Germany.

    Distinct types of relay neurons in the hindbrain process somatosensory or viscerosensory information. How neurons choose between these two fates is unclear. We show here that the homeobox gene Lbx1 is essential for imposing a somatosensory fate on relay neurons in the hindbrain. In Lbx1 mutant mice, viscerosensory relay neurons are specified at the expense of somatosensory relay neurons. Thus Lbx1 expression distinguishes between the somatosensory or viscerosensory fate of relay neurons.

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2007;27;18;4902-9

  • Conditional neuronal simian virus 40 T antigen expression induces Alzheimer-like tau and amyloid pathology in mice.

    Park KH, Hallows JL, Chakrabarty P, Davies P and Vincent I

    Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics, Department of Pediatrics, Child and Family Research Institute, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, V5Z 4H4.

    A large body of evidence has shown the activation of a cohort of cell cycle regulators and the duplication of DNA in degenerating neurons of Alzheimer's disease (AD) brain. Activation of these regulators and duplication of chromosomes precede neurodegeneration and formation of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), one of the diagnostic lesions of AD. These findings, in combination with evidence for cell cycle regulation of amyloid precursor protein and tau, has led to the hypothesis that reentry into the cell cycle underlies AD pathogenesis. To test this hypothesis directly, we have created transgenic mice with forced cell cycle activation in postmitotic neurons via conditional expression of the simian virus 40 large T antigen (TAg) oncogene. We show that TAg mice recapitulate the cell cycle changes seen in AD and display a neurodegenerative phenotype accompanied by tau pathology and NFT-like profiles. Moreover, plaque-like amyloid deposits, similar to those seen in AD, are also observed in the brains of TAg mice. These data provide support for an essential role of ectopic cell cycle activation in the generation of the characteristic pathological hallmarks of AD. Furthermore, our TAg mice are the first model to develop NFTs and amyloid pathology simultaneously and in the absence of any human transgenes. These mice will be useful for further defining the nongenetic mechanisms in AD pathogenesis and for the development of cell cycle-based therapies for AD.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: AG12721, P50 AG05136; PHS HHS: T32 00057

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2007;27;11;2969-78

  • The high-affinity HSP90-CHIP complex recognizes and selectively degrades phosphorylated tau client proteins.

    Dickey CA, Kamal A, Lundgren K, Klosak N, Bailey RM, Dunmore J, Ash P, Shoraka S, Zlatkovic J, Eckman CB, Patterson C, Dickson DW, Nahman NS, Hutton M, Burrows F and Petrucelli L

    Department of Neuroscience, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Jacksonville, Florida, USA.

    A primary pathologic component of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the formation of neurofibrillary tangles composed of hyperphosphorylated tau (p-tau). Expediting the removal of these p-tau species may be a relevant therapeutic strategy. Here we report that inhibition of Hsp90 led to decreases in p-tau levels independent of heat shock factor 1 (HSF1) activation. A critical mediator of this mechanism was carboxy terminus of Hsp70-interacting protein (CHIP), a tau ubiquitin ligase. Cochaperones were also involved in Hsp90-mediated removal of p-tau, while those of the mature Hsp90 refolding complex prevented this effect. This is the first demonstration to our knowledge that blockade of the refolding pathway promotes p-tau turnover through degradation. We also show that peripheral administration of a novel Hsp90 inhibitor promoted selective decreases in p-tau species in a mouse model of tauopathy, further suggesting a central role for the Hsp90 complex in the pathogenesis of tauopathies. When taken in the context of known high-affinity Hsp90 complexes in affected regions of the AD brain, these data implicate a central role for Hsp90 in the development of AD and other tauopathies and may provide a rationale for the development of novel Hsp90-based therapeutic strategies.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: P01 AG017216, P01-AG17216; NINDS NIH HHS: P50 NS040256, P50-NS40256

    The Journal of clinical investigation 2007;117;3;648-58

  • A limited screen for protein interactions reveals new roles for protein phosphatase 1 in cell cycle control and apoptosis.

    Flores-Delgado G, Liu CW, Sposto R and Berndt N

    Division Of Hematology/Oncology, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, 4650 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90027, USA.

    Protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) catalytic subunits typically combine with other proteins that modulate their activity, direct them to distinct substrates, or serve as substrates for PP1. More than 50 PP1-interacting proteins (PIPs) have been identified so far. Given there are approximately 10 000 phosphoproteins in mammals, many PIPs remain to be discovered. We have used arrays containing 100 carefully selected antibodies to identify novel PIPs that are important in cell proliferation and cell survival in murine fetal lung epithelial cells and human A549 lung cancer cells. The antibody arrays identified 31 potential novel PIPs and 11 of 17 well-known PIPs included as controls, suggesting a sensitivity of at least 65%. A majority of the interactions between PP1 and putative PIPs were isoform- or cell type-specific. We confirmed by co-immunoprecipitation that 9 of these proteins associate with PP1: APAF-1, Bax, E-cadherin, HSP-70, Id2, p19Skp1, p53, PCNA, and PTEN. We examined two of these interactions in greater detail in A549 cells. Exposure to nicotine enhanced association of PP1 with Bax (and Bad), but also induced inhibitory phosphorylation of PP1. In addition to p19Skp1, PP1alpha antibodies also coprecipitated cullin 1, suggesting that PP1alpha is associated with the SCF1 complex. This interaction was only detectable during the G1/S transition and S phase. Forced loss of PP1 function decreased the levels of p27Kip1, a well-known SCF1 substrate, suggesting that PP1 may rescue proteins from ubiquitin/proteasome-mediated destruction. Both of these novel interactions are consistent with PP1 facilitating cell cycle arrest and/or apoptosis.

    Funded by: NCI NIH HHS: R01-CA54167

    Journal of proteome research 2007;6;3;1165-75

  • Phosphorylation of tau antagonizes apoptosis by stabilizing beta-catenin, a mechanism involved in Alzheimer's neurodegeneration.

    Li HL, Wang HH, Liu SJ, Deng YQ, Zhang YJ, Tian Q, Wang XC, Chen XQ, Yang Y, Zhang JY, Wang Q, Xu H, Liao FF and Wang JZ

    Department of Pathophysiology, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430030, China.

    Hyperphosphorylated tau is the major protein subunit of neurofibrillary tangles in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related tauopathies. It is not understood, however, why the neurofibrillary tangle-containing neurons seen in the AD brains do not die of apoptosis but rather degeneration even though they are constantly awash in a proapoptotic environment. Here, we show that cells overexpressing tau exhibit marked resistance to apoptosis induced by various apoptotic stimuli, which also causes correlated tau hyperphosphorylation and glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK-3) activation. GSK-3 overexpression did not potentiate apoptotic stimulus-induced cell apoptosis in the presence of high levels of tau. The resistance of neuronal cells bearing hyperphosphorylated tau to apoptosis was also evident by the inverse staining pattern of PHF-1-positive tau and activated caspase-3 or fragmented nuclei in cells and the brains of rats or tau-transgenic mice. Tau hyperphosphorylation was accompanied by decreases in beta-catenin phosphorylation and increases in nuclear translocation of beta-catenin. Reduced levels of beta-catenin antagonized the antiapoptotic effect of tau, whereas overexpressing beta-catenin conferred resistance to apoptosis. These results reveal an antiapoptotic function of tau hyperphosphorylation, which likely inhibits competitively phosphorylation of beta-catenin by GSK-3beta and hence facilitates the function of beta-catenin. Our findings suggest that tau phosphorylation may lead the neurons to escape from an acute apoptotic death, implying the essence of neurodegeneration seen in the AD brains and related tauopathies.

    Funded by: NINDS NIH HHS: R01 NS046673, R01 NS054880

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2007;104;9;3591-6

  • Qualitative and quantitative analyses of protein phosphorylation in naive and stimulated mouse synaptosomal preparations.

    Munton RP, Tweedie-Cullen R, Livingstone-Zatchej M, Weinandy F, Waidelich M, Longo D, Gehrig P, Potthast F, Rutishauser D, Gerrits B, Panse C, Schlapbach R and Mansuy IM

    Brain Research Institute, Medical Faculty of the University of Zürich, Switzerland.

    Activity-dependent protein phosphorylation is a highly dynamic yet tightly regulated process essential for cellular signaling. Although recognized as critical for neuronal functions, the extent and stoichiometry of phosphorylation in brain cells remain undetermined. In this study, we resolved activity-dependent changes in phosphorylation stoichiometry at specific sites in distinct subcellular compartments of brain cells. Following highly sensitive phosphopeptide enrichment using immobilized metal affinity chromatography and mass spectrometry, we isolated and identified 974 unique phosphorylation sites on 499 proteins, many of which are novel. To further explore the significance of specific phosphorylation sites, we used isobaric peptide labels and determined the absolute quantity of both phosphorylated and non-phosphorylated peptides of candidate phosphoproteins and estimated phosphorylation stoichiometry. The analyses of phosphorylation dynamics using differentially stimulated synaptic terminal preparations revealed activity-dependent changes in phosphorylation stoichiometry of target proteins. Using this method, we were able to differentiate between distinct isoforms of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase (CaMKII) and identify a novel activity-regulated phosphorylation site on the glutamate receptor subunit GluR1. Together these data illustrate that mass spectrometry-based methods can be used to determine activity-dependent changes in phosphorylation stoichiometry on candidate phosphopeptides following large scale phosphoproteome analysis of brain tissue.

    Molecular & cellular proteomics : MCP 2007;6;2;283-93

  • Cerebellum morphogenesis: the foliation pattern is orchestrated by multi-cellular anchoring centers.

    Sudarov A and Joyner AL

    Developmental Biology Program, Sloan-Kettering Institute, York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA. sudarova@mskcc.org

    Background: The cerebellum has a striking morphology consisting of folia separated by fissures of different lengths. Since folia in mammals likely serve as a broad platform on which the anterior-posterior organization of the sensory-motor circuits of the cerebellum are built, it is important to understand how such complex morphology arises.

    Results: Using a combination of genetic inducible fate mapping, high-resolution cellular analysis and mutant studies in mouse, we demonstrate that a key event in initiation of foliation is the acquisition of a distinct cytoarchitecture in the regions that will become the base of each fissure. We term these regions 'anchoring centers'. We show that the first manifestation of anchoring centers when the cerebellar outer surface is smooth is an increase in proliferation and inward thickening of the granule cell precursors, which likely causes an associated slight invagination of the Purkinje cell layer. Thereafter, granule cell precursors within anchoring centers become distinctly elongated along the axis of the forming fissure. As the outer cerebellar surface begins to fold inwards, Bergmann glial fibers radiate in towards the base of the immature fissure in a fan shape. Once the anchoring center is formed, outgrowth of folia seems to proceed in a self-sustaining manner driven by granule cell migration along Bergmann glial fibers. Finally, by analyzing a cerebellum foliation mutant (Engrailed 2), we demonstrate that changing the timing of anchoring center formation leads to predictable changes in the shape and size of the surrounding folia.

    Conclusion: We present a new cellular model of the initial formation of cerebellar fissures with granule cells providing the driving physical force. Both the precise timing of the appearance of anchoring centers at the prospective base of each fissure and the subsequent coordinated action of granule cells and Bergmann glial fibers within the anchoring centers dictates the shape of the folia.

    Neural development 2007;2;26

  • Intranasal NAP administration reduces accumulation of amyloid peptide and tau hyperphosphorylation in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease at early pathological stage.

    Matsuoka Y, Gray AJ, Hirata-Fukae C, Minami SS, Waterhouse EG, Mattson MP, LaFerla FM, Gozes I and Aisen PS

    Department of Neurology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20057, USA.

    Accumulation of beta-amyloid (Abeta) peptide and hyperphosphorylation of tau in the brain are pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Agents altering these pathological events might modify clinical disease progression. NAP (Asn-Ala-Pro-Val-Ser-Ile-Pro-Gln) is an octapeptide that has shown neuroprotective effects in various in vitro and in vivo neurodegenerative models. Previous studies showed that NAP protected against Abeta-induced neurotoxicity, inhibited Abeta aggregation, and, by binding to tubulin, prevented disruption of microtubules. In this study, we investigated the effect of NAP on Abeta and tau pathology using a transgenic mouse model that recapitulates both aspects of AD. We administered NAP intranasally (0.5 microg/mouse per day, daily from Monday through Friday) for 3 mo, starting from 9 mo of age, which is a prepathological stage in these mice. NAP treatment significantly lowered levels of Abeta 1-40 and 1-42 in brain. In addition, NAP significantly reduced levels of hyperphosphorylated tau. Of particular interest, hyperphosphorylation at the threonine 231 site was reduced; phosphorylation at this site influences microtubule binding. Our results indicate that NAP treatment of transgenic mice initiated at an early stage reduced both Abeta and tau pathology, suggesting that NAP might be a potential therapeutic agent for AD.

    Funded by: Intramural NIH HHS; NIA NIH HHS: AG022455

    Journal of molecular neuroscience : MN 2007;31;2;165-70

  • p35/Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 is required for protection against beta-amyloid-induced cell death but not tau phosphorylation by ceramide.

    Seyb KI, Ansar S, Li G, Bean J, Michaelis ML and Dobrowsky RT

    Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045, USA.

    Ceramide is a bioactive sphingolipid that can prevent calpain activation and beta-amyloid (A beta) neurotoxicity in cortical neurons. Recent evidence supports A beta induction of a calpain-dependent cleavage of the cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (cdk5) regulatory protein p35 that contributes to tau hyperphosphorylation and neuronal death. Using cortical neurons isolated from wild-type and p35 knockout mice, we investigated whether ceramide required p35/cdk5 to protect against A beta-induced cell death and tau phosphorylation. Ceramide inhibited A beta-induced calpain activation and cdk5 activity in wild-type neurons and protected against neuronal death and tau hyperphosphorylation. Interestingly, A beta also increased cdk5 activity in p35-/- neurons, suggesting that the alternate cdk5 regulatory protein, p39, might mediate this effect. In p35 null neurons, ceramide blocked A beta-induced calpain activation but did not inhibit cdk5 activity or cell death. However, ceramide blocked tau hyperphosphorylation potentially via inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase-3beta. These data suggest that ceramide can regulate A beta cell toxicity in a p35/cdk5-dependent manner.

    Journal of molecular neuroscience : MN 2007;31;1;23-35

  • Target-induced transcriptional control of dendritic patterning and connectivity in motor neurons by the ETS gene Pea3.

    Vrieseling E and Arber S

    Biozentrum, Department of Cell Biology, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 70, 4056 Basel, Switzerland.

    The apposition of axon terminals and dendrites is critical for the control of neuronal activation, but how distinct neuronal subpopulations establish selective dendrite patterns and acquire specific presynaptic inputs remains unclear. Spinal motor neuron (MN) pools project to specific target muscles and are activated by selective synaptic inputs from group Ia proprioceptive afferents (IaPAs). Here, we show that MN pools with radially projecting dendrites respond to sensory stimulation with monosynaptic latency and are strikingly different from MN pools with dendrites that avoid the central gray matter, which are only activated through indirect connections. We provide genetic evidence that the induction of the ETS transcription factor Pea3 by GDNF is essential in two cervical MN pools to control dendrite patterning and selectivity of IaPA connectivity. These findings suggest that target-induced transcriptional programs control MN dendrite orientation and play a crucial role in the establishment of sensory-motor connections in the spinal cord.

    Cell 2006;127;7;1439-52

  • Reduction of soluble Abeta and tau, but not soluble Abeta alone, ameliorates cognitive decline in transgenic mice with plaques and tangles.

    Oddo S, Vasilevko V, Caccamo A, Kitazawa M, Cribbs DH and LaFerla FM

    Departments of Neurobiology and Behavior and Neurology, and Institute for Brain Aging and Dementia, University of California, Irvine, California 92697, USA.

    Increasing evidence points to soluble assemblies of aggregating proteins as a major mediator of neuronal and synaptic dysfunction. In Alzheimer disease (AD), soluble amyloid-beta (Abeta) appears to be a key factor in inducing synaptic and cognitive abnormalities. Here we report the novel finding that soluble tau also plays a role in the cognitive decline in the presence of concomitant Abeta pathology. We describe improved cognitive function following a reduction in both soluble Abeta and tau levels after active or passive immunization in advanced aged 3xTg-AD mice that contain both amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs). Notably, reducing soluble Abeta alone did not improve the cognitive phenotype in mice with plaques and NFTs. Our results show that Abeta immunotherapy reduces soluble tau and ameliorates behavioral deficit in old transgenic mice.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: AG0212982, AG20241

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2006;281;51;39413-23

  • Removal of pattern-breaking sequences in microtubule binding repeats produces instantaneous tau aggregation and toxicity.

    Iliev AI, Ganesan S, Bunt G and Wouters FS

    Cell Biophysics Group, European Neuroscience Institute-Göttingen, Waldweg 33, 37073 Göttingen, Germany. ailiev@gwdg.de

    Aggregated and highly phosphorylated tau protein is a pathological hallmark of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other tauopathies. We identified motifs of alternating polar and apolar amino acids within the microtubule-binding repeats of tau which were interrupted by small breaking stretches. Minimal mutation of these breaking sequences yielded a unique instantly aggregating tau mutant containing longer stretches of polar/apolar amino acids without losing its microtubule-binding capacity. These modifications produced rapid aggregation and cytotoxicity with accompanying occurrence of pathologic tau phosphoepitopes (AT8, AT180, AT270, AT100, Ser(422), and PHF-1) and conformational epitopes (MC-1 and Alz50) in cells. Similar to pathological tau in the pretangle state, toxicity appeared to occur early without the requirement for extensive fibril formation. Thus, our mutant protein provides a novel platform for the investigation of the molecular mechanisms for toxicity and cellular behavior of pathologically aggregated tau proteins and the identification of its interaction partners.

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2006;281;48;37195-204

  • Tau is hyperphosphorylated at multiple sites in mouse brain in vivo after streptozotocin-induced insulin deficiency.

    Clodfelder-Miller BJ, Zmijewska AA, Johnson GV and Jope RS

    Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology, 1720 Seventh Ave. South, Sparks Center 1057, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL 35294-0017, USA.

    Deficient signaling by insulin, as occurs in diabetes, is associated with impaired brain function, and diabetes is associated with an increased prevalence of Alzheimer's disease. One of the hallmark pathological characteristics of Alzheimer's disease is the presence of neurofibrillary tangles containing hyperphosphorylated tau, a microtubule-associated protein. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that insulin depletion caused by administration of streptozotocin may cause tau hyperphosphorylation in mouse brain by using site-specific phosphorylation-dependent tau antibodies to obtain precise identification of the phosphorylation of tau on individual residues. A massive (fivefold average increase) and widespread at multiple residues (detected with eight different phosphorylation-dependent tau antibodies) increase in the phosphorylation of tau was found in mouse cerebral cortex and hippocampus within 3 days of insulin depletion by streptozotocin treatment. This hyperphosphorylation of tau at some sites was rapidly reversible by peripheral insulin administration. Examination of several kinases that phosphorylate tau indicated that they were unlikely to account for the widespread hyperphosphorylation of tau caused by streptozotocin treatment, but there was a large decrease in mouse brain protein phosphatase 2A activity, which is known to mediate tau phosphorylation. These results show that insulin deficiency causes rapid and large increases in tau phosphorylation, a condition that could prime tau for the neuropathology of Alzheimer's disease, thereby contributing to the increased susceptibility to Alzheimer's disease caused by diabetes.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: AG021045, R01 AG021045-04; NINDS NIH HHS: NS37768, R01 NS037768-08

    Diabetes 2006;55;12;3320-5

  • The c-Jun N-terminal kinase activator dual leucine zipper kinase regulates axon growth and neuronal migration in the developing cerebral cortex.

    Hirai S, Cui DF, Miyata T, Ogawa M, Kiyonari H, Suda Y, Aizawa S, Banba Y and Ohno S

    Department of Molecular Biology, Graduate School of Medical Science, Yokohama City University, Yokohama 236-0004, Japan. sh3312@med.yokohama-cu.ac.jp

    Mammalian corticogenesis substantially depends on migration and axon projection of newborn neurons that are coordinated by a yet unidentified molecular mechanism. Dual leucine zipper kinase (DLK) induces activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), a molecule that regulates morphogenesis in various organisms. We show here, using gene targeting in mice, that DLK is indispensable for establishing axon tracts, especially those originating from neocortical pyramidal neurons of the cerebrum. Direct and quantitative analysis of radial migration of pyramidal neurons using slice culture and a time-lapse imaging system revealed that acceleration around the subplate was affected by DLK gene disruption and by administration of a JNK inhibitor. Phosphorylation of JNK substrates, including c-Jun and doublecortin, and of JNK itself at the activation loop were partially affected in brains of DLK-deficient mouse embryos. These data suggest that DLK plays a significant role in the coordinated regulation of radial migration and axon projection by modulating JNK activity.

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2006;26;46;11992-2002

  • COUP-TFI is required for the formation of commissural projections in the forebrain by regulating axonal growth.

    Armentano M, Filosa A, Andolfi G and Studer M

    TIGEM (Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine Disorders Program, Via P. Castellino 111, 80131 Napoli, Italy.

    The transcription factor COUP-TFI (NR2F1), an orphan member of the nuclear receptor superfamily, is an important regulator of neurogenesis, cellular differentiation and cell migration. In the forebrain, COUP-TFI controls the connectivity between thalamus and cortex and neuronal tangential migration in the basal telencephalon. Here, we show that COUP-TFI is required for proper axonal growth and guidance of all major forebrain commissures. Fibres of the corpus callosum, the hippocampal commissure and the anterior commissure project aberrantly and fail to cross the midline in COUP-TFI null mutants. Moreover, hippocampal neurons lacking COUP-TFI have a defect in neurite outgrowth and show an abnormal axonal morphology. To search for downstream effectors, we used microarray analysis and showed that, in the absence of COUP-TFI, expression of various cytoskeleton molecules involved in neuronal morphogenesis is affected. Diminished protein levels of the microtubule-associated protein MAP1B and increased levels of the GTP-binding protein RND2 were confirmed in the developing cortex in vivo and in primary hippocampal neurons in vitro. Therefore, based on morphological studies, gene expression profiling and primary cultured neurons, the present data uncover a previously unappreciated intrinsic role for COUP-TFI in axonal growth in vivo and supply one of the premises for COUP-TFI coordination of neuronal morphogenesis in the developing forebrain.

    Funded by: Telethon: TGM06A04, TGM06S01

    Development (Cambridge, England) 2006;133;21;4151-62

  • Mitochondrial dysfunction and tau hyperphosphorylation in Ts1Cje, a mouse model for Down syndrome.

    Shukkur EA, Shimohata A, Akagi T, Yu W, Yamaguchi M, Murayama M, Chui D, Takeuchi T, Amano K, Subramhanya KH, Hashikawa T, Sago H, Epstein CJ, Takashima A and Yamakawa K

    Laboratory for Neurogenetics, RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Saitama, Japan.

    Trisomy 21 or Down syndrome (DS) is the most common genetic birth defect associated with mental retardation. The over-expression of genes on chromosome 21, including SOD1 (Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase) and APP (amyloid-beta precursor protein) is believed to underlie the increased oxidative stress and neurodegeneration commonly described in DS. However, a segmental trisomy 16 mouse model for DS, Ts1Cje, has a subset of triplicated human chromosome 21 gene orthologs that exclude APP and SOD1. Here, we report that Ts1Cje brain shows decreases of mitochondrial membrane potential and ATP production, increases of reactive oxygen species, hyperphosphorylation of tau without NFT formation, increase of GSK3beta and JNK/SAPK activities and unaltered AbetaPP metabolism. Our findings suggest that genes on the trisomic Ts1Cje segment other than APP and SOD1 can cause oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction and hyperphosphorylation of tau, all of which may play critical roles in the pathogenesis of mental retardation in DS.

    Funded by: NICHD NIH HHS: HD-31498

    Human molecular genetics 2006;15;18;2752-62

  • Genetic visualization of neurogenesis.

    Carlén M, Meletis K, Barnabé-Heider F and Frisén J

    Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Medical Nobel Institute, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm SE-17177, Sweden.

    Neurons are generated from stem or progenitor cells in discrete areas in the adult brain. The exact temporal and spatial distribution of adult neurogenesis has, however, been difficult to establish because of inherent limitations with the currently used techniques, and there are numerous controversies with regard to whether neurons are generated in specific regions or in response to insults. We describe here the generation of transgenic mice that express conditionally active Cre recombinase under the control of a nestin enhancer element. These mice allow the recombination of reporter alleles specifically in neural stem and progenitor cells and the visualization of their progeny in the adult brain. This offers a simple and efficient way to visualize live adult born neurons without the caveats of currently used techniques.

    Experimental cell research 2006;312;15;2851-9

  • The roles of cyclin-dependent kinase 5 and glycogen synthase kinase 3 in tau hyperphosphorylation.

    Plattner F, Angelo M and Giese KP

    Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom. f.plattner@ucl.ac.uk

    Hyperphosphorylation of the microtubule-associated protein tau is a characteristic feature of neurodegenerative tauopathies including Alzheimer disease. Over-activation of proline-directed kinases, such as cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) and glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3), has been implicated in the aberrant phosphorylation of tau at proline-directed sites. In this study we tested the roles of Cdk5 and GSK3 in tau hyperphosphorylation in vivo using transgenic mice with p25-induced Cdk5 over-activation. We found that over-activation of Cdk5 in young transgenic animals does not induce tau hyperphosphorylation at sites recognized by the antibodies AT8, AT100, PHF-1, and TG3. In fact, we observed that Cdk5 over-activation leads to inhibition of GSK3. However, in old transgenic animals the inhibition of GSK3 is lost and results in increased GSK3 activity, which coincides with tau hyperphosphorylation at the AT8 and PHF-1 sites. Pharmacological inhibition of GSK3 in old transgenic mice by chronic treatment with lithium leads to a reduction of the age-dependent increase in tau hyperphosphorylation. Furthermore, we found that Cdk5, GSK3, and PP2A co-immunoprecipitate, suggesting a functional association of these molecules. Together, these results reveal the role of GSK3 as a key mediator of tau hyperphosphorylation, whereas Cdk5 acts as a modulator of tau hyperphosphorylation via the inhibitory regulation of GSK3. Furthermore, these findings suggest that disruption of regulation of GSK3 activity underlies tau hyperphosphorylation in neurodegenerative tauopathies. Hence, GSK3 may be a prime target for therapeutic intervention in tauopathies including Alzheimer disease.

    Funded by: Medical Research Council: G0400983

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2006;281;35;25457-65

  • Transport of PIP3 by GAKIN, a kinesin-3 family protein, regulates neuronal cell polarity.

    Horiguchi K, Hanada T, Fukui Y and Chishti AH

    Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Center, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.

    Phosphatidylinositol-(3,4,5)-trisphosphate (PIP3), a product of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, is an important second messenger implicated in signal transduction and membrane transport. In hippocampal neurons, the accumulation of PIP3 at the tip of neurite initiates the axon specification and neuronal polarity formation. We show that guanylate kinase-associated kinesin (GAKIN), a kinesin-like motor protein, directly interacts with a PIP3-interacting protein, PIP3BP, and mediates the transport of PIP3-containing vesicles. Recombinant GAKIN and PIP3BP form a complex on synthetic liposomes containing PIP3 and support the motility of the liposomes along microtubules in vitro. In PC12 cells and cultured hippocampal neurons, transport activity of GAKIN contributes to the accumulation of PIP3 at the tip of neurites. In hippocampal neurons, altered accumulation of PIP3 by overexpression of GAKIN constructs led to the loss of the axonally differentiated neurites. Together, these results suggest that, in neurons, the GAKIN-PIP3BP complex transports PIP3 to the neurite ends and regulates neuronal polarity formation.

    Funded by: NCI NIH HHS: CA 94414, R01 CA094414; NHLBI NIH HHS: HL60755

    The Journal of cell biology 2006;174;3;425-36

  • Role of MAP1B in axonal retrograde transport of mitochondria.

    Jiménez-Mateos EM, González-Billault C, Dawson HN, Vitek MP and Avila J

    Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa, Campus de Cantoblanco, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 28049 Madrid, Spain.

    The MAPs (microtubule-associated proteins) MAP1B and tau are well known for binding to microtubules and stabilizing these structures. An additional role for MAPs has emerged recently where they appear to participate in the regulation of transport of cargos on the microtubules found in axons. In this role, tau has been associated with the regulation of anterograde axonal transport. We now report that MAP1B is associated with the regulation of retrograde axonal transport of mitochondria. This finding potentially provides precise control of axonal transport by MAPs at several levels: controlling the anterograde or retrograde direction of transport depending on the type of MAP involved, controlling the speed of transport and controlling the stability of the microtubule tracks upon which transport occurs.

    The Biochemical journal 2006;397;1;53-9

  • Deletion of the ubiquitin ligase CHIP leads to the accumulation, but not the aggregation, of both endogenous phospho- and caspase-3-cleaved tau species.

    Dickey CA, Yue M, Lin WL, Dickson DW, Dunmore JH, Lee WC, Zehr C, West G, Cao S, Clark AM, Caldwell GA, Caldwell KA, Eckman C, Patterson C, Hutton M and Petrucelli L

    Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Jacksonville, Florida 32224, USA.

    Accumulation of the microtubule-associated protein tau into neurofibrillary lesions is a pathological consequence of several neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. Hereditary mutations in the MAPT gene were shown to promote the formation of structurally distinct tau aggregates in patients that had a parkinsonian-like clinical presentation. Whether tau aggregates themselves or the soluble intermediate species that precede their aggregation are neurotoxic entities in these disorders has yet to be resolved; however, recent in vivo evidence supports the latter. We hypothesized that depletion of CHIP, a tau ubiquitin ligase, would lead to an increase in abnormal tau. Here, we show that deletion of CHIP in mice leads to the accumulation of non-aggregated, ubiquitin-negative, hyperphosphorylated tau species. CHIP-/- mice also have increased neuronal caspase-3 levels and activity, as well as caspase-cleaved tau immunoreactivity. Overexpression of mutant (P301L) human tau in CHIP-/- mice is insufficient to promote either argyrophilic or "pre-tangle" structures, despite marked phospho-tau accumulation throughout the brain. These observations are supported in post-developmental studies using RNA interference for CHIP (chn-1) in Caenorhabditis elegans and cell culture systems. Our results demonstrate that CHIP is a primary component in the ubiquitin-dependent degradation of tau. We also show that hyperphosphorylation and caspase-3 cleavage of tau both occur before aggregate formation. Based on these findings, we propose that polyubiquitination of tau by CHIP may facilitate the formation of insoluble filamentous tau lesions.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: P01-AG17216; NINDS NIH HHS: P50-NS40256

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2006;26;26;6985-96

  • Expression profiling the developing mammalian enteric nervous system identifies marker and candidate Hirschsprung disease genes.

    Heanue TA and Pachnis V

    Division of Molecular Neurobiology, National Institute for Medical Research, Medical Research Council, The Ridgeway, Mill Hill, London NW7 1AA, United Kingdom.

    The enteric nervous system (ENS) is composed of neurons and glial cells, organized as interconnected ganglia within the gut wall, which controls peristalsis of the gut wall and secretions from its glands. The Ret receptor tyrosine kinase is expressed throughout enteric neurogenesis and is required for normal ENS development; humans with mutations in the RET locus have Hirschsprung disease (HSCR, an absence of ganglia in the colon), and mice lacking Ret have total intestinal aganglionosis. The Ret mutant mouse provides a tool for identifying genes implicated in development of the ENS. By using RNA from WT and Ret mutant (aganglionic) gut tissue and DNA microarrays, we have conducted a differential screen for ENS-expressed genes and have identified hundreds of candidate ENS-expressed genes. Forty-seven genes were selected for further analysis, representing diverse functional classes. We show that all of the analyzed genes are expressed in the ENS and that the screen was sensitive enough to identify genes marking only subpopulations of ENS cells. Our screen, therefore, was reliable and sensitive and has identified many previously undescribed genes for studying ENS development. Moreover, two of the genes identified in our screen Arhgef3 and Ctnnal1, have human homologues that map to previously identified HSCR susceptibility loci, thus representing excellent candidates for HSCR genes. This comprehensive profile of ENS gene expression refines our understanding of ENS development and serves as a resource for future developmental, biochemical, and human genetic studies.

    Funded by: Medical Research Council: MC_U117537087; NCI NIH HHS: CA23767, P01 CA023767

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2006;103;18;6919-24

  • Comprehensive identification of phosphorylation sites in postsynaptic density preparations.

    Trinidad JC, Specht CG, Thalhammer A, Schoepfer R and Burlingame AL

    Mass Spectrometry Facility, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of California, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.

    In the mammalian central nervous system, the structure known as the postsynaptic density (PSD) is a dense complex of proteins whose function is to detect and respond to neurotransmitter released from presynaptic axon terminals. Regulation of protein phosphorylation in this molecular machinery is critical to the activity of its components, which include neurotransmitter receptors, kinases/phosphatases, scaffolding molecules, and proteins regulating cytoskeletal structure. To characterize the phosphorylation state of proteins in PSD samples, we combined strong cation exchange (SCX) chromatography with IMAC. Initially, tryptic peptides were separated by cation exchange and analyzed by reverse phase chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry, which led to the identification of phosphopeptides in most SCX fractions. Because each of these individual fractions was too complex to characterize completely in single LC-MS/MS runs, we enriched for phosphopeptides by performing IMAC on each SCX fraction, yielding at least a 3-fold increase in identified phosphopeptides relative to either approach alone (SCX or IMAC). This enabled us to identify at least one site of phosphorylation on 23% (287 of 1,264) of all proteins found to be present in the postsynaptic density preparation. In total, we identified 998 unique phosphorylated peptides, mapping to 723 unique sites of phosphorylation. At least one exact site of phosphorylation was determined on 62% (621 of 998) of all phosphopeptides, and approximately 80% of identified phosphorylation sites are novel.

    Funded by: NCRR NIH HHS: RR14606; Wellcome Trust

    Molecular & cellular proteomics : MCP 2006;5;5;914-22

  • Tau isoforms expression in transgenic mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

    Usarek E, Kuźma-Kozakiewicz M, Schwalenstöcker B, Kaźmierczak B, Münch C, Ludolph AC and Barańczyk-Kuźma A

    Department of Biochemistry, Medical University of Warsaw, Banacha 1, 02-097 Warsaw, Poland.

    Tau is a protein involved in regulation of microtubule stability, axonal differentiation and transport. Alteration of retrograde transport may lead to motor neuron degeneration. Thus alternative mRNA splicing and expression of tau isoforms were studied in a transgenic mouse model harboring the human SOD1 G93A mutation. The studies were performed on cortex, hippocampus and spinal cord of 64- and 120-day-old animals (presymptomatic and symptomatic stage) and wild type controls. Exon 10 was found in all studied tissues. The 2N isoform containing exons 2 and 3 (+2+3) and the 1N (+2-3) predominated over the 0N (-2-3) in brain regions of the studied mice. The 2N expression was significantly lower in cortex and hippocampus of symptomatic animals compared to analogue control tissues. The decrease in 2N expression resulted in lower levels of total tau mRNA and tau protein. No changes in tau expression were observed in spinal cord of studied animals.

    Neurochemical research 2006;31;5;597-602

  • BGEM: an in situ hybridization database of gene expression in the embryonic and adult mouse nervous system.

    Magdaleno S, Jensen P, Brumwell CL, Seal A, Lehman K, Asbury A, Cheung T, Cornelius T, Batten DM, Eden C, Norland SM, Rice DS, Dosooye N, Shakya S, Mehta P and Curran T

    Department of Developmental Neurobiology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee, United States.

    Funded by: NINDS NIH HHS: 5R37NS036558, N01-NS-0-2331, R37 NS036558

    PLoS biology 2006;4;4;e86

  • Improved long-term potentiation and memory in young tau-P301L transgenic mice before onset of hyperphosphorylation and tauopathy.

    Boekhoorn K, Terwel D, Biemans B, Borghgraef P, Wiegert O, Ramakers GJ, de Vos K, Krugers H, Tomiyama T, Mori H, Joels M, van Leuven F and Lucassen PJ

    Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, Center for Neuroscience, University of Amsterdam, 1098 SM Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

    The microtubule binding protein tau is implicated in neurodegenerative tauopathies, including frontotemporal dementia (FTD) with Parkinsonism caused by diverse mutations in the tau gene. Hyperphosphorylation of tau is considered crucial in the age-related formation of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) correlating well with neurotoxicity and cognitive defects. Transgenic mice expressing FTD mutant tau-P301L recapitulate the human pathology with progressive neuronal impairment and accumulation of NFT. Here, we studied tau-P301L mice for parameters of learning and memory at a young age, before hyperphosphorylation and tauopathy were apparent. Unexpectedly, in young tau-P301L mice, increased long-term potentiation in the dentate gyrus was observed in parallel with improved cognitive performance in object recognition tests. Neither tau phosphorylation, neurogenesis, nor other morphological parameters that were analyzed could account for these cognitive changes. The data demonstrate that learning and memory processes in the hippocampus of young tau-P301L mice are not impaired and actually improved in the absence of marked phosphorylation of human tau. We conclude that protein tau plays an important beneficial role in normal neuronal processes of hippocampal memory, and conversely, that not tau mutations per se, but the ensuing hyperphosphorylation must be critical for cognitive decline in tauopathies.

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2006;26;13;3514-23

  • Cell-cycle markers in a transgenic mouse model of human tauopathy: increased levels of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors p21Cip1 and p27Kip1.

    Delobel P, Lavenir I, Ghetti B, Holzer M and Goedert M

    Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 2QH, UK.

    Recent evidence has suggested that an abnormal reactivation of the cell cycle may precede and cause the hyperphosphorylation and filament formation of tau protein in Alzheimer's disease and other tauopathies. Here we have analyzed the expression and/or activation of proteins involved in cell-cycle progression in the brain and spinal cord of mice transgenic for mutant human P301S tau protein. This mouse line recapitulates the essential molecular and cellular features of the human tauopathies, including hyperphosphorylation and filament formation of tau protein. None of the activators and co-activators of the cell cycle tested were overexpressed or activated in 5-month-old transgenic mice when compared to controls. By contrast, the levels of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors p21Cip1 and p27Kip1 were increased in brain and spinal cord of transgenic mice. Both inhibitors accumulated in the cytoplasm of nerve cells, the majority of which contained inclusions made of hyperphosphorylated tau protein. A similar staining pattern for p21Cip1 and p27Kip1 was also present in the frontal cortex from a case of FTDP-17 with the P301L tau mutation. Thus, reactivation of the cell cycle was not involved in tau hyperphos-phorylation and filament formation, consistent with expression of p21Cip1 and p27Kip1 in tangle-bearing nerve cells.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: P30AG10133

    The American journal of pathology 2006;168;3;878-87

  • Formation of tau inclusions in knock-in mice with familial Alzheimer disease (FAD) mutation of presenilin 1 (PS1).

    Tanemura K, Chui DH, Fukuda T, Murayama M, Park JM, Akagi T, Tatebayashi Y, Miyasaka T, Kimura T, Hashikawa T, Nakano Y, Kudo T, Takeda M and Takashima A

    Laboratory for Alzheimer Disease and Neural Architecture, Brain Science Institute, RIKEN, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan.

    Mutations in the presenilin 1 (PS1) gene are responsible for the early onset of familial Alzheimer disease (FAD). Accumulating evidence shows that PS1 is involved in gamma-secretase activity and that FAD-associated mutations of PS1 commonly accelerate Abeta(1-42) production, which causes Alzheimer disease (AD). Recent studies suggest, however, that PS1 is involved not only in Abeta production but also in other processes that lead to neurodegeneration. To better understand the causes of neurodegeneration linked to the PS1 mutation, we analyzed the development of tau pathology, another key feature of AD, in PS1 knock-in mice. Hippocampal samples taken from FAD mutant (I213T) PS1 knock-in mice contained hyperphosphorylated tau that reacted with various phosphodependent tau antibodies and with Alz50, which recognizes the conformational change of PHF tau. Some neurons exhibited Congo red birefringence and Thioflavin T reactivity, both of which are histological criteria for neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs). Biochemical analysis of the samples revealed SDS-insoluble tau, which under electron microscopy examination, resembled tau fibrils. These results indicate that our mutant PS1 knock-in mice exhibited NFT-like tau pathology in the absence of Abeta deposition, suggesting that PS1 mutations contribute to the onset of AD not only by enhancing Abeta(1-42) production but by also accelerating the formation and accumulation of filamentous tau.

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2006;281;8;5037-41

  • A role for Runx transcription factor signaling in dorsal root ganglion sensory neuron diversification.

    Kramer I, Sigrist M, de Nooij JC, Taniuchi I, Jessell TM and Arber S

    Biozentrum, Department of Cell Biology, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 70, 4056 Basel, Switzerland.

    Subpopulations of sensory neurons in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) can be characterized on the basis of sensory modalities that convey distinct peripheral stimuli, but the molecular mechanisms that underlie sensory neuronal diversification remain unclear. Here, we have used genetic manipulations in the mouse embryo to examine how Runx transcription factor signaling controls the acquisition of distinct DRG neuronal subtype identities. Runx3 acts to diversify an Ngn1-independent neuronal cohort by promoting the differentiation of proprioceptive sensory neurons through erosion of TrkB expression in prospective TrkC+ sensory neurons. In contrast, Runx1 controls neuronal diversification within Ngn1-dependent TrkA+ neurons by repression of neuropeptide CGRP expression and controlling the fine pattern of laminar termination in the dorsal spinal cord. Together, our findings suggest that Runx transcription factor signaling plays a key role in sensory neuron diversification.

    Neuron 2006;49;3;379-93

  • Temporal profile of amyloid-beta (Abeta) oligomerization in an in vivo model of Alzheimer disease. A link between Abeta and tau pathology.

    Oddo S, Caccamo A, Tran L, Lambert MP, Glabe CG, Klein WL and LaFerla FM

    Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, University of California, Irvine, California 92697-4545, USA.

    Accumulation of amyloid-beta (Abeta) is one of the earliest molecular events in Alzheimer disease (AD), whereas tau pathology is thought to be a later downstream event. It is now well established that Abeta exists as monomers, oligomers, and fibrils. To study the temporal profile of Abeta oligomer formation in vivo and to determine their interaction with tau pathology, we used the 3xTg-AD mice, which develop a progressive accumulation of plaques and tangles and cognitive impairments. We show that SDS-resistant Abeta oligomers accumulate in an age-dependent fashion, and we present evidence to show that oligomerization of Abeta appears to first occur intraneuronally. Finally, we show that a single intrahippocampal injection of a specific oligomeric antibody is sufficient to clear Abeta pathology, and more importantly, tau pathology. Therefore, Abeta oligomers may play a role in the induction of tau pathology, making the interference of Abeta oligomerization a valid therapeutic target.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: AG 11385, AG 18877, AG 22547, AG00538, AG0212982

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2006;281;3;1599-604

  • Impaired glutamate transport in a mouse model of tau pathology in astrocytes.

    Dabir DV, Robinson MB, Swanson E, Zhang B, Trojanowski JQ, Lee VM and Forman MS

    Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.

    Filamentous tau inclusions in neurons and glia are neuropathological hallmarks of tauopathies. The discovery of microtubule-associated protein tau gene mutations that are pathogenic for a heterogenous group of neurodegenerative disorders, called frontotemporal dementia and parkinsonism linked to chromosome-17 (FTDP-17), directly implicate tau abnormalities in the onset/progression of disease. Although the role of tau pathology in neurons in disease pathogenesis is well accepted, the contribution of glial pathology is essentially unknown. We recently generated a transgenic (Tg) mouse model of tau pathology in astrocytes by expressing the human tau protein under the control of the glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) promoter. Both wild-type and FTDP-17 mutant GFAP/tau Tg animals manifest an age-dependent accumulation of tau inclusions in astrocytes that resembles the pathology observed in human tauopathies. We further demonstrate that both strains of Tg mice manifest compromised motor function that correlates with altered expression of the glial glutamate-aspartate transporter and occurs before the development of tau pathology. Subsequently, the Tg mice manifest additional deficits in neuromuscular strength that correlates with reduced expression of glutamate transporter-1 (GLT-1) and occurs concurrent with tau inclusion pathology. Reduced GLT-1 expression was associated with a progressive decrease in sodium-dependent glutamate transport capacity. Reductions in GLT-1 expression were also observed in corticobasal degeneration, a tauopathy with prominent pathology in astrocytes. Less robust changes were observed in Alzheimer's disease in which neuronal tau pathology predominates. Thus, these Tg mice recapitulate features of astrocytic pathology observed in tauopathies and implicate a role for altered astrocyte function in the pathogenesis of these disorders.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: K08 AG20073, P01 AG17586, P30 AG10124; NINDS NIH HHS: R01 NS36465; PHS HHS: P30 26979

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2006;26;2;644-54

  • Genetic interactions between doublecortin and doublecortin-like kinase in neuronal migration and axon outgrowth.

    Deuel TA, Liu JS, Corbo JC, Yoo SY, Rorke-Adams LB and Walsh CA

    Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

    Although mutations in the human doublecortin gene (DCX) cause profound defects in cortical neuronal migration, a genetic deletion of Dcx in mice produces a milder defect. A second locus, doublecortin-like kinase (Dclk), encodes a protein with similar "doublecortin domains" and microtubule stabilization properties that may compensate for Dcx. Here, we generate a mouse with a Dclk mutation that causes no obvious migrational abnormalities but show that mice mutant for both Dcx and Dclk demonstrate perinatal lethality, disorganized neocortical layering, and profound hippocampal cytoarchitectural disorganization. Surprisingly, Dcx(-/y);Dclk(-/-) mutants have widespread axonal defects, affecting the corpus callosum, anterior commissure, subcortical fiber tracts, and internal capsule. Dcx/Dclk-deficient dissociated neurons show abnormal axon outgrowth and dendritic structure, with defects in axonal transport of synaptic vesicle proteins. Dcx and Dclk may directly or indirectly regulate microtubule-based vesicle transport, a process critical to both neuronal migration and axon outgrowth.

    Funded by: NINDS NIH HHS: P01 NS40043

    Neuron 2006;49;1;41-53

  • Hyperphosphorylation of microtubule-associated protein tau in senescence-accelerated mouse (SAM).

    Canudas AM, Gutierrez-Cuesta J, Rodríguez MI, Acuña-Castroviejo D, Sureda FX, Camins A and Pallàs M

    Unitat de Farmacologia i Farmacognòsia, Facultat de Farmàcia, Universitat de Barcelona, Nucli Universitari de Pedralbes, E-08028 Barcelona, Spain.

    Tau is a neuronal microtubule-associated protein found predominantly on axons. Tau phosphorylation regulates both normal and pathological functions of this protein. Hyperphosphorylation impairs the microtubule binding function of tau, resulting in the destabilization of microtubules in brain, ultimately leading to the degeneration of the affected neurons. Numerous serine/threonine kinases, including GSK-3beta and Cdk5 can phosphorylate tau. SAMR1 and SAMP8 are murine strains of senescence. We show an increase in hyperphosphorylated forms of tau in SAMP8 (senescent mice) in comparison with resistant strain SAMR1. Moreover, an increase in Cdk5 expression and activation is described but analysis of GSK3beta isoforms failed to show differences in SAMP8 in comparison to age-matched SAMR1. In conclusion, tau hyperphosphorylation occurs in SAMP-8 (early senescent) mice, indicating a link between aging and tau modifications in this murine model.

    Mechanisms of ageing and development 2005;126;12;1300-4

  • Peripheral hyperinsulinemia promotes tau phosphorylation in vivo.

    Freude S, Plum L, Schnitker J, Leeser U, Udelhoven M, Krone W, Bruning JC and Schubert M

    Department of Internal Medicine II, LFI 4/061, University of Cologne, Kerpener Str. 62, D-50937 Cologne, Germany.

    Cerebral insulin receptors play an important role in regulation of energy homeostasis and development of neurodegeneration. Accordingly, type 2 diabetes characterized by insulin resistance is associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Formation of neurofibrillary tangles, which contain hyperphosphorylated tau, represents a key step in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. Here, we directly addressed whether peripheral hyperinsulinemia as one feature of type 2 diabetes can alter in vivo cerebral insulin signaling and tau phosphorylation. Peripheral insulin stimulation rapidly increased insulin receptor tyrosine phosphorylation, mitogen-activated protein kinase and phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase pathway activation, and dose-dependent tau phosphorylation at Ser202 in the central nervous system. Phospho-FoxO1 and PI-3,4,5-phosphate immunostainings of brains from insulin-stimulated mice showed neuronal staining throughout the brain, not restricted to brain areas without functional blood-brain barrier. Importantly, in insulin-stimulated neuronal/brain-specific insulin receptor knockout mice, cerebral insulin receptor signaling and tau phosphorylation were completely abolished. Thus, peripherally injected insulin directly targets the brain and causes rapid cerebral insulin receptor signal transduction and site-specific tau phosphorylation in vivo, revealing new insights into the linkage of type 2 diabetes and neurodegeneration.

    Diabetes 2005;54;12;3343-8

  • Tau is hyperphosphorylated in the insulin-like growth factor-I null brain.

    Cheng CM, Tseng V, Wang J, Wang D, Matyakhina L and Bondy CA

    Developmental Endocrinology Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA. chengc@mail.nih.gov

    IGF action has been implicated in the promotion of oxidative stress and aging in invertebrate and murine models. However, some in vitro models suggest that IGF-I specifically prevents neuronal oxidative damage. To investigate whether IGF-I promotes or retards brain aging, we evaluated signs of oxidative stress and neuropathological aging in brains from 400-d-old Igf1-/- and wild-type (WT) mice. Lipofuscin pigment accumulation reflects oxidative stress and aging, but we found no difference in lipofuscin deposition in Igf1-/- and WT brains. Likewise, there was no apparent difference in accumulation of nitrotyrosine residues in Igf1-/- and WT brains, except for layer IV/V of the cerebral cortex, where these proteins were about 20% higher in the Igf1-/- brain (P = 0.03). We found no difference in the levels of oxidative stress-related enzymes, neuronal nitric oxide synthase, inducible nitric oxide synthase, and superoxide dismutase in Igf1-/- and WT brains. Tau is a microtubule-associated protein that causes the formation of neurofibrillary tangles and senile plaques as it becomes hyperphosphorylated in the aging brain. Tau phosphorylation was dramatically increased on two specific residues, Ser-396 and Ser-202, both glycogen synthase kinases target sites implicated in neurodegeneration. These observations indicate that IGF-I has a major role in regulating tau phosphorylation in the aging brain, whereas its role in promoting or preventing oxidative stress remains uncertain.

    Endocrinology 2005;146;12;5086-91

  • Dynamic changes of phosphorylated tau in mouse hippocampus after cold water stress.

    Feng Q, Cheng B, Yang R, Sun FY and Zhu CQ

    National Laboratory of Medical Neurobiology, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, 138 Yi-Xue-Yuan Road, Shanghai 200032, PR China.

    The abnormal hyperphosphorylation of tau protein in brain is attributed to a number of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer disease. It has been reported that cold water stress (CWS) could cause rapid reversible tau phosphorylation in brain. To explore the possible long-tem effects of CWS on tau phosphorylation, we employed the immunoblot and immunohistochemical methods to analyze the phosphorylation of tau in the hippocampus of mice subjected to CWS. Results showed that CWS stimulation caused not only an early phase reversible tau phosphorylation, but also a later phase tau phosphorylation after 6h. The distribution pattern of phosphorylated tau (P-tau) in the later phase was different to that of early phase. At 1h after CWS, defined as early phase, P-tau was strikingly located in the mossy fibers and nerve terminals at the molecular layer of dentate gray (DG), whereas at 12h, defined as later phase, P-tau was dominantly located in the somatodendritic compartments of neurons in DG and CA3/CA1 regions, but obviously decreased in the mossy fibers and nerve terminals of molecular layer. These findings demonstrate that CWS leads to prominent changes of tau phosphorylation and P-tau localization in the hippocampus in a time dependent manner.

    Neuroscience letters 2005;388;1;13-6

  • Proteomic determination of widespread detergent-insolubility including Abeta but not tau early in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease.

    Woltjer RL, Cimino PJ, Boutté AM, Schantz AM, Montine KS, Larson EB, Bird T, Quinn JF, Zhang J and Montine TJ

    Department of Pathology, Division of Neuropathology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.

    Biochemical characterization of the major detergent-insoluble proteins that comprise hallmark histopathologic lesions initiated the molecular era of Alzheimer's disease (AD) research. Here, we reinvestigated detergent-insoluble proteins in AD using modern proteomic techniques. Using liquid chromatography (LC)-mass spectrometry (MS)-MS-based proteomics, we robustly identified 125 proteins in the detergent-insoluble fraction of late-onset AD (LOAD) temporal cortex that included several proteins critical to Abeta production, components of synaptic scaffolding, and products of genes linked to an increased risk of LOAD; we verified 15 of 15 of these proteins by Western blot. Following multiple analyses, we estimated that these represent ~80% of detergent-insoluble proteins in LOAD detectable by our method. Abeta, tau, and 7 of 8 other newly identified detergent-insoluble proteins were disproportionately increased in temporal cortex from patients with LOAD and AD derived from mutations in PSEN1 and PSEN2; all of these except tau were elevated in individuals with prodromal dementia, while none except Abeta were elevated in aged APPswe mice. These results are consistent with the amyloid hypothesis of AD and extend it to include widespread protein insolubility, not exclusively Abeta insolubility, early in AD pathogenesis even before the onset of clinical dementia.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: AG05136, AG06781, AG22040, AG23801, AG24011

    FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology 2005;19;13;1923-5

  • Transgenic mice expressing mutant (N279K) human tau show mutation dependent cognitive deficits without neurofibrillary tangle formation.

    Taniguchi T, Doe N, Matsuyama S, Kitamura Y, Mori H, Saito N and Tanaka C

    Laboratory of Molecular Pharmacology, Biosignal Research Center, Kobe University, Nada-ku, Japan. tanigu@kobe-u.ac.jp

    Mutations in the tau gene, which is located on chromosome 17, were found causative for autosomal dominantly inherited frontotemporal dementia and parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 (FTDP-17). To determine if cognitive deficits could be caused by tau mutations, two transgenic mouse lines were generated expressing a four-repeat isoform of human tau or its mutant, containing one of the FTDP-17 mutations (WILD mice and N279K mice). In open field test, N279K mice showed hyperactivity in locomotion and rearing. In prepulse inhibition test, N279K mice but not Wild mice showed significant deficits. Both transgenic mice, especially N279K mice, showed impairment in acquisition of spatial learning in Morris water maze. Although both N279K mice and Wild mice acquired passive avoidance as well as non-transgenic mice, N279K mice but not Wild mice showed severe deficits in acquisition of active avoidance. Histological analysis of the present mutant mice did not show any signs of neurofibrillary tangle formations in the brain, and cognitive dysfunction seemed to precede such neuropathological changes or occur independently from them. The behavioral phenotype of N279K mice mimics features of human FTDP-17 and provides a basic model for elucidating mechanisms underlying cognitive deficits in not only FTDP-17, but also diverse tauopathies.

    FEBS letters 2005;579;25;5704-12

  • Disease-related modifications in tau affect the interaction between Fyn and Tau.

    Bhaskar K, Yen SH and Lee G

    Department of Internal Medicine, Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA.

    Microtubule-associated protein tau is the major component of the neurofibrillary tangles of Alzheimer disease (AD) and is genetically linked to frontotemporal dementias (FTDP-17). We have recently shown that tau interacts with the SH3 domain of Fyn, an Src family non-receptor tyrosine kinase, and is tyrosine-phosphorylated by Fyn on Tyr-18. Also, tyrosine-phosphorylated tau is present in the neuropathology of AD. To determine whether alterations in the tau-Fyn interaction might correlate with disease-related factors in AD and FTDP-17, we have performed real-time surface plasmon resonance studies on a panel of 21 tau constructs with Fyn SH3. We report that the interaction between Fyn SH3 and 3R-tau was 20-fold higher than that with 4R-tau. In addition, the affinity between 4R-tau and Fyn SH3 was increased 25-45-fold by phosphorylation-mimicking mutations or by FTDP-17 mutations. In vitro kinase reactions show that tau, with lower affinity SH3 interactions, exhibited a lower level of Tyr-18 phosphorylation under our reaction conditions. Lastly, we have demonstrated that tau is phosphorylated on Tyr-18 in the tau P301L mouse model for tauopathy (JNPL3). In summary, our results suggest that disease-related phosphorylation and missense mutations of tau increase association of tau with Fyn. Because these effects are mediated through the 4R component of the tau population, these results also have implications for the FTDP-17 diseases caused by increased expression of 4R-tau. Our data support a role for the Fyn-tau interaction in neurodegeneration.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: AG17753

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2005;280;42;35119-25

  • Altered depression-related behavior and neurochemical changes in serotonergic neurons in mutant R406W human tau transgenic mice.

    Egashira N, Iwasaki K, Takashima A, Watanabe T, Kawabe H, Matsuda T, Mishima K, Chidori S, Nishimura R and Fujiwara M

    Department of Neuropharmacology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Fukuoka University, 8-19-1 Nanakuma, Fukuoka 814-0180, Japan.

    Mutant R406W human tau was originally identified in frontotemporal dementia and parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 (FTDP-17) and causes a hereditary tauopathy that clinically resembles Alzheimer's disease (AD). In the current study, we examined the performance of R406W transgenic (Tg) mice in the forced swimming test, a test with high predictivity of antidepressant efficacy in human depression, and found an enhancement of the immobility time. In contrast, the motor function and anxiety-related emotional response of R406W Tg mice were normal. Furthermore, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), fluvoxamine (100 mg/kg, p.o.), significantly reduced this enhancement of the immobility time, whereas a noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor, desipramine, had no effect. In an in vivo microdialysis study, R406W Tg mice exhibited a significantly decreased extracellular 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) level in the frontal cortex and also exhibited a tendency toward a decreased extracellular 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) level. Moreover, fluvoxamine, which reduced the enhancement of the immobility time, significantly increased the extracellular 5-HT level in R406W Tg mice. These results suggest that R406W Tg mice exhibit changes in depression-related behavior involving serotonergic neurons and provide an animal model for investigating AD with depression.

    Brain research 2005;1059;1;7-12

  • Axonal degeneration induced by targeted expression of mutant human tau in oligodendrocytes of transgenic mice that model glial tauopathies.

    Higuchi M, Zhang B, Forman MS, Yoshiyama Y, Trojanowski JQ and Lee VM

    Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Institute on Aging, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104.

    Abundant filamentous tau inclusions in oligodendrocytes (OLGs) are hallmarks of neurodegenerative tauopathies, including sporadic corticobasal degeneration and hereditary frontotemporal dementia with parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 (FTDP-17). However, mechanisms of neurodegeneration in these tauopathies are unclear in part because of the lack of animal models for experimental analysis. We address this by generating transgenic (Tg) mice expressing human tau exclusively in OLGs using the 2',3'-cyclic nucleotide 3'-phosphodiesterase promoter. Filamentous OLG tau inclusions developed in these Tg mice as a result of human tau expression in OLGs, especially those expressing the FTDP-17 human P301L mutant tau. Notably, structural disruption of myelin and axons preceded the emergence of thioflavin-S positive tau inclusions in OLGs, but impairments in axonal transport occurred even earlier, whereas motor deficits developed subsequently, especially in Tg mice with the highest tau expression levels. These data suggest that the accumulation of tau in OLG cause neurodegeneration, and we infer they do so by disrupting axonal transport. We suggest that similar defects may also occur in sporadic and hereditary human tauopathies with OLG tau pathologies.

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2005;25;41;9434-43

  • The effect of insulin deficiency on tau and neurofilament in the insulin knockout mouse.

    Schechter R, Beju D and Miller KE

    William K. Warren Medical Research Institute, University of Oklahoma Medical Health Science Center, Tulsa, OK 74107, USA. ruben.schechter@okstate.edu

    Complications of diabetes mellitus within the nervous system are peripheral and central neuropathy. In peripheral neuropathy, defects in neurofilament and microtubules have been demonstrated. In this study, we examined the effects of insulin deficiency within the brain in insulin knockout mice (I-/-). The I-/- exhibited hyperphosphorylation of tau, at threonine 231, and neurofilament. In addition, we showed hyperphosphorylation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta (GSK-3 beta) at serine 9. Extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1 (ERK 1) showed decrease in phosphorylation, whereas ERK 2 showed no changes. Ultrastructural examination demonstrated swollen mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, and Golgi apparatus, and dispersion of the nuclear chromatin. Microtubules showed decrease in the number of intermicrotubule bridges and neurofilament presented as bunches. Thus, lack of insulin brain stimulation induces JNK hyperphosphorylation followed by hyperphosphorylation of tau and neurofilament, and ultrastructural cellular damage, that over time may induce decrease in cognition and learning disabilities.

    Biochemical and biophysical research communications 2005;334;4;979-86

  • Increase in tau tyrosine phosphorylation correlates with the formation of tau aggregates.

    Vega IE, Cui L, Propst JA, Hutton ML, Lee G and Yen SH

    Department of Neuroscience, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, Jacksonville, FL 32224, USA.

    Tauopathies are neurodegenerative disorders characterized by aberrant intracellular aggregation of hyperphosphorylated tau. It has been shown that aggregated tau is phosphorylated at serine, threonine, and tyrosine residues. However, the occurrence of tyrosine phosphorylation on tau proteins at different states of tau aggregation has not been shown. In this report, we utilized the tauopathy mouse model JNPL3 that expresses human 0N4R tau isoform bearing the missense P301L mutation to study the occurrence of tau tyrosine phosphorylation in the course of the development of tau aggregation. These mice develop behavioral and motor deficits and form sarkosyl-insoluble hyperphosphorylated tau in an age-dependent manner. Mass spectrometry analyses of immunopurified brain tau proteins from JNPL3 and Alzheimer's disease affected individual uncovered novel tau tyrosine-phosphorylated sites. Further studies demonstrated that the abundance of tyrosine-phosphorylated tau increases in an age-dependent manner in JNPL3 mice. Tyrosine-phosphorylated tau was detected in both soluble and sarkosyl-insoluble preparations derived from brain and spinal cord, and localized in neurons containing aggregated tau. The phosphorylation of tyrosine residues in tau appeared to occur along with that of serine and threonine residues and was not detectable in non-transgenic littermates and transgenic mice expressing 0N4R wild-type human tau. The results suggest that tyrosine phosphorylation is as important as phosphorylation of other residues in tauopathy.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: AG17126; NINDS NIH HHS: F32 NS047930, F32NS047930

    Brain research. Molecular brain research 2005;138;2;135-44

  • Hyperphosphorylation-induced self assembly of murine tau: a comparison with human tau.

    Chohan MO, Haque N, Alonso A, El-Akkad E, Grundke-Iqbal I, Grover A and Iqbal K

    Department of Neurochemistry, NYS Institute for Basic Research, Staten Island, NY 10314, USA.

    Alzheimer's disease-like neurofibrillary pathology is neither seen in rodents nor in transgenic animals expressing the disease causing mutant human APP or mutant human presenilins. Whether the absence of this pathology is due to inability of the murine tau to self assemble into filaments or due to some other factors is not understood. In this study, we compared recombinant murine and human taus in their ability to form filaments by AD-like hyperphosphorylation in vitro. Human and murine taus, 0N4R, were generated as recombinant proteins and phosphorylated with rat brain extract as a source of protein kinases. We found that murine tau could be hyperphosphorylated to similar stoichiometry and manner as human tau. Upon hyperphosphorylation, murine tau was able to self polymerize into bundles of paired helical filament- and straight filament-like morphology. The filaments obtained from self assembly of murine tau closely resembled those formed from identically treated human tau. Moreover, like human tau, 60-70% of murine tau aggregated on hyperphosphorylation.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: AG19158

    Journal of neural transmission (Vienna, Austria : 1996) 2005;112;8;1035-47

  • Multiple origins of Cajal-Retzius cells at the borders of the developing pallium.

    Bielle F, Griveau A, Narboux-Nême N, Vigneau S, Sigrist M, Arber S, Wassef M and Pierani A

    Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique-Unité Mixte de Recherche 8542, Ecole Normale Supérieure, 46 rue d'Ulm, 75005 Paris, France.

    Cajal-Retzius cells are critical in cortical lamination, but very little is known about their origin and development. The homeodomain transcription factor Dbx1 is expressed in restricted progenitor domains of the developing pallium: the ventral pallium (VP) and the septum. Using genetic tracing and ablation experiments in mice, we show that two subpopulations of Reelin(+) Cajal-Retzius cells are generated from Dbx1-expressing progenitors. VP- and septum-derived Reelin(+) neurons differ in their onset of appearance, migration routes, destination and expression of molecular markers. Together with reported data supporting the generation of Reelin(+) cells in the cortical hem, our results show that Cajal-Retzius cells are generated at least at three focal sites at the borders of the developing pallium and are redistributed by tangential migration. Our data also strongly suggest that distinct Cajal-Retzius subtypes exist and that their presence in different territories of the developing cortex might contribute to region-specific properties.

    Nature neuroscience 2005;8;8;1002-12

  • Tau and GSK3beta dephosphorylations are required for regulating Pin1 phosphorylation.

    Min SH, Cho JS, Oh JH, Shim SB, Hwang DY, Lee SH, Jee SW, Lim HJ, Kim MY, Sheen YY, Lee SH and Kim YK

    Division of Laboratory Animal Resources, National Institute of Toxicological Research, Korea FDA, 122-704, Seoul, Korea.

    Pin1 binds mitotically phosphorylated Thr231-Pro232 and Thr212-Pro213 sites on tau, and a Pin1 deficiency in mice leads to tau hyperphosphorylation. The aim of this study was to determine if the dephosphorylation or inhibition of tau and GSK3beta phosphorylation induces the Pin1 phosphorylation. To test this, human SK-N-MC cells were stably transfected with a fusion gene containing neuron-specific enolase (NSE)-controlled APPsw gene(NSE/APPsw), to induce Abeta-42. The stable transfectants were then transiently transfected with NSE/Splice, lacking human tau (NSE/Splice), or NSE/hTau, containing human tau, into the cells. The NSE/Splice- and NSE/hTau-cells were then treated with lithium. We concluded that (i) there was more C99-beta APP accumulation than C83-betaAPP in APPsw-tansfectant and thereby promoted Abeta-42 production in transfectants. (ii) the inhibition of tau and GSK3beta phosphorylations correlated with increase in Pin1 activation in NSE/hTau- cells. Thus, these observations suggest that Pin1 might have an inhibitive role in phosphorylating tau and GSK3beta for protecting against Alzheimer's disease.

    Neurochemical research 2005;30;8;955-61

  • Sequestosome 1/p62 shuttles polyubiquitinated tau for proteasomal degradation.

    Babu JR, Geetha T and Wooten MW

    Department of Biological Sciences, Program in Cell and Molecular Biosciences, Auburn University, AL 36849, USA.

    Inclusions isolated from several neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease (AD), are characterized by ubiquitin-positive proteinaceous aggregates. Employing confocal and immunoelectron microscopy, we find that the ubiquitin-associating protein sequestosome1/p62, co-localizes to aggregates isolated from AD but not control brain, along with the E3 ubiquitin ligase, TRAF6. This interaction could be recapitulated by co-transfection in HEK293 cells. Employing both in vitro and in vivo approaches, tau was found to be a substrate of the TRAF6, possessing lysine 63 polyubiquitin chains. Moreover, tau recovered from brain of TRAF6 knockout mice, compared with wild type, was not ubiquitinated. Tau degradation took place through the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway and was dependent upon either the K63-polyubiquitin chains or upon p62. In brain lysates of p62 knockout mice, tau fails to co-interact with Rpt1, a proteasomal subunit, thereby indicating a requirement for p62 shuttling of tau to the proteasome. Our results demonstrate that p62 interacts with K63-polyubiquitinated tau through its UBA domain and serves a novel role in regulating tau proteasomal degradation. We propose a model whereby either a decline in p62 expression or a decrease in proteasome activity may contribute to accumulation of insoluble/aggregated K63-polyubiquitinated tau.

    Funded by: NINDS NIH HHS: NS-33661

    Journal of neurochemistry 2005;94;1;192-203

  • Proteomic and functional analyses reveal a mitochondrial dysfunction in P301L tau transgenic mice.

    David DC, Hauptmann S, Scherping I, Schuessel K, Keil U, Rizzu P, Ravid R, Dröse S, Brandt U, Müller WE, Eckert A and Götz J

    Division of Psychiatry Research, University of Zurich, 8008 Zurich, Switzerland.

    Transgenic mice overexpressing the P301L mutant human tau protein exhibit an accumulation of hyperphosphorylated tau and develop neurofibrillary tangles. The consequences of tau pathology were investigated here by proteomics followed by functional analysis. Mainly metabolism-related proteins including mitochondrial respiratory chain complex components, antioxidant enzymes, and synaptic proteins were identified as modified in the proteome pattern of P301L tau mice. Significantly, the reduction in mitochondrial complex V levels in the P301L tau mice revealed using proteomics was also confirmed as decreased in human P301L FTDP-17 (frontotemporal dementia with parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17) brains. Functional analysis demonstrated a mitochondrial dysfunction in P301L tau mice together with reduced NADH-ubiquinone oxidoreductase activity and, with age, impaired mitochondrial respiration and ATP synthesis. Mitochondrial dys-function was associated with higher levels of reactive oxygen species in aged transgenic mice. Increased tau pathology as in aged homozygous P301L tau mice revealed modified lipid peroxidation levels and the up-regulation of antioxidant enzymes in response to oxidative stress. Furthermore, P301L tau mitochondria displayed increased vulnerability toward beta-amyloid (Abeta) peptide insult, suggesting a synergistic action of tau and Abeta pathology on the mitochondria. Taken together, we conclude that tau pathology involves a mitochondrial and oxidative stress disorder possibly distinct from that caused by Abeta.

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2005;280;25;23802-14

  • Cell-cycle reentry and cell death in transgenic mice expressing nonmutant human tau isoforms.

    Andorfer C, Acker CM, Kress Y, Hof PR, Duff K and Davies P

    Department of Neuroscience, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York 10461, USA. cathy.andorfer@sbri.org

    Mutations in the microtubule-associated protein tau gene have been linked to neurofibrillary tangle (NFT) formation in several neurodegenerative diseases known as tauopathies; however, no tau mutations occur in Alzheimer's disease, although this disease is also characterized by NFT formation and cell death. Importantly, the mechanism of tau-mediated neuronal death remains elusive. Aged mice expressing nonmutant human tau in the absence of mouse tau (htau mice) developed NFTs and extensive cell death. The mechanism of neuron death was investigated in htau mice, and surprisingly, the presence of tau filaments did not correlate directly with death within individual cells, suggesting that cell death can occur independently of NFT formation. Our observations show that the mechanism of neurodegeneration involved reexpression of cell-cycle proteins and DNA synthesis, indicating that nonmutant tau pathology and neurodegeneration may be linked via abnormal, incomplete cell-cycle reentry.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: AG022102; PHS HHS: 38623

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2005;25;22;5446-54

  • Differential expression of CRMP1, CRMP2A, CRMP2B, and CRMP5 in axons or dendrites of distinct neurons in the mouse brain.

    Bretin S, Reibel S, Charrier E, Maus-Moatti M, Auvergnon N, Thevenoux A, Glowinski J, Rogemond V, Prémont J, Honnorat J and Gauchy C

    Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale U114, Collège de France, 75231 Paris, France. christian.gauchy@college-de-france.fr

    CRMP1, CRMP2, and CRMP5 have been identified as cytosolic proteins relaying semaphorin 3A signalling, one of the molecular cues conducting axon and dendrite growth and guidance. They are highly expressed during brain ontogenesis, but, because of their lower levels in the adult, their distribution in the mature brain is poorly documented. By using specific antibodies, we investigated the cellular distribution of these CRMPs in different adult brain structures and in neural cell cultures with a special focus on the splice variants CRMP2A and CRMP2B. In brain sections of adult mouse, CRMP1, CRMP2B, and CRMP5 were located predominantly in dendrites of specific neuronal populations, such as cortical pyramidal neurons, hippocampal CA1 pyramidal cells, or Purkinje cerebellar cells. On the contrary, CRMP2A was specifically associated with axons of the corpus callosum, bundles of the striatum, and mossy fibers of the hippocampus. In cultures of cortical neurons, CRMP1, CRMP2A, CRMP2B, and CRMP5 were equally distributed throughout cell bodies, axons, or dendrites of neurons, whereas CRMP2A and CRMP5 were completely absent from Purkinje cerebellar cells in 12-day-old animals. By comparison, oligodendrocytes exclusively express CRMP2B and CRMP5 in cell bodies and processes both in situ in the adult brain and in primary cultures. Overall, our results demonstrate specific subcellular localizations of CRMP1, CRMP2A, CRMP2B, and CRMP5 depending on cell types, neuronal compartment, and developmental stage. This study suggests that, beyond their signalling function in axon outgrowth and guidance, CRMPs also play a role in mature neurons both in axons and in dendrites.

    The Journal of comparative neurology 2005;486;1;1-17

  • A developmental switch in the response of DRG neurons to ETS transcription factor signaling.

    Hippenmeyer S, Vrieseling E, Sigrist M, Portmann T, Laengle C, Ladle DR and Arber S

    Biozentrum, Department of Cell Biology, University of Basel, Switzerland.

    Two ETS transcription factors of the Pea3 subfamily are induced in subpopulations of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) sensory and spinal motor neurons by target-derived factors. Their expression controls late aspects of neuronal differentiation such as target invasion and branching. Here, we show that the late onset of ETS gene expression is an essential requirement for normal sensory neuron differentiation. We provide genetic evidence in the mouse that precocious ETS expression in DRG sensory neurons perturbs axonal projections, the acquisition of terminal differentiation markers, and their dependence on neurotrophic support. Together, our findings indicate that DRG sensory neurons exhibit a temporal developmental switch that can be revealed by distinct responses to ETS transcription factor signaling at sequential steps of neuronal maturation.

    PLoS biology 2005;3;5;e159

  • Transgenic mouse model of tau pathology in astrocytes leading to nervous system degeneration.

    Forman MS, Lal D, Zhang B, Dabir DV, Swanson E, Lee VM and Trojanowski JQ

    Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA. formanm@mail.med.upenn.edu

    Filamentous tau inclusions in neurons and glia are neuropathological hallmarks of sporadic and familial tauopathies. Because tau gene mutations are pathogenic for the autosomal dominant tauopathy "frontotemporal dementia and parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17," tau abnormalities are implicated directly in the onset and/or progression of disease. Although filamentous tau aggregates are acknowledged to play roles in degenerative mechanisms resulting in neuron loss, the contributions of glial tau pathology to neurodegeneration remain essentially unexplored. To begin to elucidate the role of glial pathology in tauopathies, we generated a transgenic (Tg) mouse model of astrocytic tau pathology by expressing the human tau protein driven by the glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) promoter. Whereas endogenous tau was not detected in astrocytes of control mice, in GFAP/tau Tg mice there was robust astrocytic tau expression that was associated with a redistribution of the GFAP network. Subsequently, there was an age-dependent accumulation of tau pathology in astrocytes that was Gallyas and variably thioflavine S positive as observed in many tauopathies. The tau pathology in these Tg mice was abnormally phosphorylated, ubiquitinated, and filamentous, and the emergence of this pathology coincided with accumulation of insoluble tau protein. Furthermore, in regions with robust astrocytic tau pathology, there was mild blood- brain barrier disruption, induction of low-molecular-weight heat shock proteins, and focal neuron degeneration. Thus, these Tg mice recapitulate key features of astrocytic pathology observed in human tauopathies and demonstrate functional consequences of this pathology including neuron degeneration in the absence of neuronal tau inclusions.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: K08 AG20073, P01 AG17586

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2005;25;14;3539-50

  • Proteomic analysis of in vivo phosphorylated synaptic proteins.

    Collins MO, Yu L, Coba MP, Husi H, Campuzano I, Blackstock WP, Choudhary JS and Grant SG

    Division of Neuroscience, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9JZ, UK.

    In the nervous system, protein phosphorylation is an essential feature of synaptic function. Although protein phosphorylation is known to be important for many synaptic processes and in disease, little is known about global phosphorylation of synaptic proteins. Heterogeneity and low abundance make protein phosphorylation analysis difficult, particularly for mammalian tissue samples. Using a new approach, combining both protein and peptide immobilized metal affinity chromatography and mass spectrometry data acquisition strategies, we have produced the first large scale map of the mouse synapse phosphoproteome. We report over 650 phosphorylation events corresponding to 331 sites (289 have been unambiguously assigned), 92% of which are novel. These represent 79 proteins, half of which are novel phosphoproteins, and include several highly phosphorylated proteins such as MAP1B (33 sites) and Bassoon (30 sites). An additional 149 candidate phosphoproteins were identified by profiling the composition of the protein immobilized metal affinity chromatography enrichment. All major synaptic protein classes were observed, including components of important pre- and postsynaptic complexes as well as low abundance signaling proteins. Bioinformatic and in vitro phosphorylation assays of peptide arrays suggest that a small number of kinases phosphorylate many proteins and that each substrate is phosphorylated by many kinases. These data substantially increase existing knowledge of synapse protein phosphorylation and support a model where the synapse phosphoproteome is functionally organized into a highly interconnected signaling network.

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2005;280;7;5972-82

  • Changed conformation of mutant Tau-P301L underlies the moribund tauopathy, absent in progressive, nonlethal axonopathy of Tau-4R/2N transgenic mice.

    Terwel D, Lasrado R, Snauwaert J, Vandeweert E, Van Haesendonck C, Borghgraef P and Van Leuven F

    Experimental Genetics Group, Department of Human Genetics, KU Leuven, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium.

    Protein tau-3R/4R isoform ratio and phosphorylation regulates binding to microtubules and, when disturbed by aging or mutations, results in diverse tauopathies and in neurodegeneration. The underlying mechanisms were studied here in three transgenic mouse strains with identical genetic background, all expressing the tau-4R/2N isoform driven specifically in neurons by the thy1 gene promoter. Two strains, expressing human tau-4R/2N or mutant tau-4R/2N-P301L at similar, moderate levels, developed very different phenotypes. Tau-4R/2N mice became motor-impaired already around age 6-8 weeks, accompanied by axonopathy (dilatations, spheroids), but no tau aggregates, and surviving normally. In contrast, tau-P301L mice developed neurofibrillary tangles from age 6 months, without axonal dilatations and, despite only minor motor problems, all succumbing before the age of 13 months. The third strain, obtained by tau knock-out/knock-in (tau-KOKI), expressed normal levels of wild-type human tau-4R/2N replacing all mouse tau isoforms. Tau-KOKI mice survived normally with minor motor problems late in life and without any obvious pathology. Biochemically, a fraction of neuronal tau in aging tau-P301L mice was hyperphosphorylated concomitant with conformational changes and aggregation, but overall, tau-4R/2N was actually more phosphorylated than tau-P301L. Significantly, tau with changed conformation and with hyperphosphorylation colocalized in the same neurons in aging tau-P301L mice. Taken together, we conclude that excessive binding of tau-4R/2N as opposed to reduced binding of tau-P301L to microtubules is responsible for the development of axonopathy and tauopathy, respectively, in tau-4R/2N and tau-P301L mice and that the conformational change of tau-P301L is a major determinant in triggering the tauopathy.

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2005;280;5;3963-73

  • Investigations of the genomic region that contains the clf1 mutation, a causal gene in multifactorial cleft lip and palate in mice.

    Juriloff DM, Harris MJ, Dewell SL, Brown CJ, Mager DL, Gagnier L and Mah DG

    Department of Medical Genetics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. juriloff@interchange.ubc.ca

    Background: Human nonsyndromic cleft lip and palate, CL(P), is genetically complex, with one contributing gene on chromosome 17q. A potentially homologous gene, clf1 on distal chromosome 11, is part of the digenic cause of the 10-30% CL(P) in the A/WySn mouse strain. Here we report our progress toward identifying the clf1 mutation.

    Methods: Transcription from all of the known and predicted genes in the 1.5-Mb candidate region was examined in A/WySn and control (AXB-4/Pgn) ED10-11 embryo heads. The marker haplotype for 28 inbred strains across the clf1 region was obtained. The entire transcripts of Wnt9b and Wnt3 in A/WySn were sequenced. Using long PCR, the genomic region from Wnt3 throughWnt9b was screened in A/WySn for an inserted retrotransposon.

    Results: Gosr2, Wnt9b, Wnt3, Nsf, Arf2, Crhr1, Mapt, Cdc27, Myl4, Itgb3, chr11_20.152, chr11_20.154, chr11_20.155, and chr11_20.156 are expressed in ED10-11 heads. None is absent or detectably reduced in A/WySn. The ancestral pre-clf1 mutation haplotype was found in CBA/J mice. By a test-cross, CBA/J was confirmed to lack the clf1 mutation. Three single-nucleotide variants in A/WySn (vs. C57BL/6J) were found in each of the 3' untranslated regions (3'UTRs) of Wnt3 and of Wnt9b, respectively; their presence in CBA/J shows that none are the clf1 mutation. An inserted intracisternal A particle (IAP) retrotransposon located 6.6 kb from the 3' end of Wnt9b was found in A/WySn and in all clf1 strains tested. This IAP is absent in C57BL/6J and CBA/J.

    Conclusions: The clf1 mutation is a genomic alteration present in A/WySn and absent in the ancestral chromosomal segment in CBA/J. The IAP retrotransposon insertion near Wnt9b in A/WySn fits this criterion; we predict that interference with Wnt9b function by this IAP is the clf1 mutation.

    Birth defects research. Part A, Clinical and molecular teratology 2005;73;2;103-13

  • Increased tau phosphorylation on mitogen-activated protein kinase consensus sites and cognitive decline in transgenic models for Alzheimer's disease and FTDP-17: evidence for distinct molecular processes underlying tau abnormalities.

    Lambourne SL, Sellers LA, Bush TG, Choudhury SK, Emson PC, Suh YH and Wilkinson LS

    Neurobiology Programme, The Babraham Institute, Babraham, Cambridge CB2 4AT, United Kingdom.

    Abnormal tau phosphorylation occurs in several neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's disease (AD) and frontotemporal dementia with Parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 (FTDP-17). Here, we compare mechanisms of tau phosphorylation in mouse models of FTDP-17 and AD. Mice expressing a mutated form of human tau associated with FTDP-17 (tau(V337M)) showed age-related increases in exogenous tau phosphorylation in the absence of increased activation status of a number of kinases known to phosphorylate tau in vitro. In a "combined" model, expressing both tau(V337M) and the familial amyloid precursor protein AD mutation APP(V717I) in a CT100 fragment, age-dependent tau phosphorylation occurred at the same sites and was significantly augmented compared to "single" tau(V337M) mice. These effects were concomitant with increased activation status of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) family members (extracellular regulated kinases 1 and 2, p38, and c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase) but not glycogen synthase kinase-3alphabeta or cyclin-dependent kinase 5. The increase in MAPK activation was a discrete effect of APP(V717I)-CT100 transgene expression as near identical changes were observed in single APP(V717I)-CT100 mice. Age-dependent deficits in memory were also associated with tau(V337M) and APP(V717I)-CT100 expression. The data reveal distinct routes to abnormal tau phosphorylation in models of AD and FTDP-17 and suggest that in AD, tau irregularities may be linked to processing of APP C-terminal fragments via specific effects on MAPK activation status.

    Molecular and cellular biology 2005;25;1;278-93

  • Hyperphosphorylation and aggregation of tau in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

    Schneider A, Araújo GW, Trajkovic K, Herrmann MM, Merkler D, Mandelkow EM, Weissert R and Simons M

    Department of Neurology, Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research, University of Tübingen, Hoppe-Seyler-Strasse 3, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.

    Axonal damage is a major morphological correlate and cause of permanent neurological deficits in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), a multifocal, inflammatory and demyelinating disease of the central nervous system. Hyperphosphorylation and pathological aggregation of microtubule-associated protein tau is a common feature of many neurodegenerative diseases with axonal degeneration including Alzheimer's disease. We have therefore analyzed tau phosphorylation, solubility and distribution in the brainstem of rats with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of MS. Tau was hyperphosphorylated at several sites also phosphorylated in Alzheimer's disease and became partially detergent-insoluble in EAE brains. Morphological examination demonstrated accumulation of amorphous deposits of abnormally phosphorylated tau in the cell body and axons of neurons within demyelinating plaques. Hyperphosphorylation of tau was accompanied by up-regulation of p25, an activator of cyclin-dependent kinase 5. Phosphorylation of tau, activation of cdk5, and axonal pathology were significantly reduced when diseased rats were treated with prednisolone, a standard therapy of acute relapses in MS. Hyperphosphorylation of tau was not observed in a genetic or nutritional model of axonal degeneration or demyelination, suggesting that inflammation as detected in the brains of rats with EAE is the specific trigger of tau pathology. In summary, our data provide evidence that axonal damage in EAE and possibly MS is linked to tau pathology.

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2004;279;53;55833-9

  • Cre recombinase specificity defined by the tau locus.

    Korets-Smith E, Lindemann L, Tucker KL, Jiang C, Kabacs N, Belteki G, Haigh J, Gertsenstein M and Nagy A

    Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, 600 University Ave., Toronto, Ontario, M5G 1X5, Canada.

    We generated a transgenic mouse line (tau::Cre) by targeting the Cre to the tau locus (Mapt). Based on previous reports on the expression of Tau during development, we expected the Cre recombinase to be expressed in a neuron-specific and pan-neuronal manner. However, intercrosses between the tau::Cre and the Cre-activatable reporter animals resulted in offspring with recombination either restricted to the nervous system or throughout the entire conceptus, indicating expression of Tau early in development. The percentage of neuron-specific excision was dependent on the Cre reporter used representing different Cre target sites in the mouse genome. In spite of the observed variability, our data suggest that the tau::Cre mouse line can be used for pan-neuronal recombination of floxed alleles when it is used with caution.

    Genesis (New York, N.Y. : 2000) 2004;40;3;131-8

  • Induction of inflammatory mediators and microglial activation in mice transgenic for mutant human P301S tau protein.

    Bellucci A, Westwood AJ, Ingram E, Casamenti F, Goedert M and Spillantini MG

    Brain Repair Centre, University of Cambridge, Robinson Way, Cambridge CB2 2PY, UK.

    Mice transgenic for human P301S tau protein exhibit many characteristics of the human tauopathies, including the formation of abundant filaments made of hyperphosphorylated tau protein and neurodegeneration leading to nerve cell loss. At 5 months of age, the pathological changes are most marked in brainstem and spinal cord. Here we show that these changes are accompanied by marked neuroinflammation. Many tau-positive nerve cells in brainstem and spinal cord were strongly immunoreactive for interleukin-1beta and cyclooxygenase-2, indicating induction and overproduction of proinflammatory cytokines and enzymes. In parallel, numerous activated microglial cells were present throughout brain and spinal cord of transgenic mice, where they concentrated around tau-positive nerve cells. These findings suggest that inflammation may play a significant role in the events leading to neurodegeneration in the tauopathies and that anti-inflammatory compounds may have therapeutic potential.

    The American journal of pathology 2004;165;5;1643-52

  • Phosphoproteomic analysis of the developing mouse brain.

    Ballif BA, Villén J, Beausoleil SA, Schwartz D and Gygi SP

    Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

    Proper development of the mammalian brain requires the precise integration of numerous temporally and spatially regulated stimuli. Many of these signals transduce their cues via the reversible phosphorylation of downstream effector molecules. Neuronal stimuli acting in concert have the potential of generating enormous arrays of regulatory phosphoproteins. Toward the global profiling of phosphoproteins in the developing brain, we report here the use of a mass spectrometry-based methodology permitting the first proteomic-scale phosphorylation site analysis of primary animal tissue, identifying over 500 protein phosphorylation sites in the developing mouse brain.

    Funded by: NHGRI NIH HHS: HG00041

    Molecular & cellular proteomics : MCP 2004;3;11;1093-101

  • Synapsin and synaptic vesicle protein expression during embryonic and post-natal lens fiber cell differentiation.

    Frederikse PH, Yun E, Kao HT, Zigler JS, Sun Q and Qazi AS

    Department of Pharmacology & Physiology, UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ 07103, USA. frederph@umdnj.edu

    Purpose: Reorganization of cytoskeleton and membrane biogenesis are dynamically coordinated during lens fiber cell differentiation and development to produce an organ with precise dimensions and optical properties. Cargo vesicle trafficking is fundamental to cell elongation and has also been implicated in degenerative disease mechanisms. Alzheimer precursor protein (AbetaPP) acts with kinesin, synapsin, and synaptic vesicle proteins to mediate cargo vesicle transport and membrane fusion in neurons. In our previous studies we demonstrated that AbetaPP is also a key element in lens fiber cell formation, and in early-onset cataract that occurs along with early-onset Alzheimer disease in Down syndrome. In the present study we examine lens expression and regulation of a complement of genes associated with cargo and synaptic vesicle transport in neurons.

    Methods: RT-PCR, immunoblot, and immunohistochemical methods were used to characterize expression of AbetaPP and kinesin associated motor proteins, synapsins, and synaptic vesicle proteins in mouse and rat embryonic, post-natal, and adult lenses. Phospho-specific anti-synapsin antibodies were used to determine the distributions of site-1 phosphorylated and dephosphorylated synapsin protein.

    Results: We demonstrate that a substantial complement of cargo and synaptic vesicle proteins involved in AbetaPP mediated vesicle transport are expressed in lenses along the anterior-posterior axis of fiber cells in embryonic and adult lenses, consistent with vesicles, actin filaments, and neuron-like arrangement of microtubules in lenses shown by others. We identify temporal regulation of synapsins I, II, and III during embryonic and post-natal lens development consistent with their roles in neurons. Regulation of vesicle cytoskeleton attachment, actin polymerization, and the capacity to stimulate cell differentiation by synapsins are governed in large part by phosphorylation at a conserved Ser9 residue (site-1). We demonstrate discrete distributions of Ser9 phospho- and dephospho-synapsins along the axial length of rapidly elongating embryonic lens fiber cells, and decreased levels of site-1 phosphorylated synapsins in adult lenses.

    Conclusions: The present findings demonstrate several fundamental parallels between lens and neuron vesicle trafficking cell biology and development, and suggest that more extensive AbetaPP related vesicle trafficking disease mechanisms may be shared by lens and brain.

    Molecular vision 2004;10;794-804

  • Increased tau phosphorylation in apolipoprotein E4 transgenic mice is associated with activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase: modulation by zinc.

    Harris FM, Brecht WJ, Xu Q, Mahley RW and Huang Y

    Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease, University of California, San Francisco, California 94141-9100, USA.

    Although apolipoprotein (apo) E4 is present in amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, its pathogenic role in Alzheimer's disease (AD) is unclear. Neuronal expression of apoE4 or apoE4 fragments in transgenic mice increases tau phosphorylation. To identify the kinase responsible for the increase, we studied transgenic mice expressing human apoE3 or apoE4 in neurons under the control of the neuron-specific enolase promoter. Brain levels of phosphorylated tau (p-tau) and phosphorylated (active) extracellular signal-regulated kinase (p-Erk) increased with age in both groups but were considerably higher in the apoE4 mice. Other candidate kinases, including glycogen synthase kinase 3beta and cyclin-dependent kinase-5 and its activators p25 and p35, were not significantly altered. The increases in p-Erk and p-tau were highest in the hippocampus, intermediate in the cortex, and lowest in the cerebellum. In the hippocampus, p-Erk and p-tau accumulated in the hilus and CA3 region of the dentate gyrus, where high levels of zinc are found along mossy fibers. In Neuro-2a cells stably expressing apoE3 or apoE4, treatment with ZnCl2 generated 2-fold more p-Erk and 3-fold more p-tau in the apoE4-expressing cells. Phosphorylation of Erk and tau was reduced by preincubation with the Erk pathway inhibitor U0126. Thus, increased tau phosphorylation in apoE4 transgenic mice was associated with Erk activation and could be modified by zinc, suggesting that apoE4 and zinc act in concert to contribute to the pathogenesis of AD.

    Funded by: NHLBI NIH HHS: R01 HL37063; NIA NIH HHS: P01 AG022074; NINDS NIH HHS: R21 NS046465

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2004;279;43;44795-801

  • The status, quality, and expansion of the NIH full-length cDNA project: the Mammalian Gene Collection (MGC).

    Gerhard DS, Wagner L, Feingold EA, Shenmen CM, Grouse LH, Schuler G, Klein SL, Old S, Rasooly R, Good P, Guyer M, Peck AM, Derge JG, Lipman D, Collins FS, Jang W, Sherry S, Feolo M, Misquitta L, Lee E, Rotmistrovsky K, Greenhut SF, Schaefer CF, Buetow K, Bonner TI, Haussler D, Kent J, Kiekhaus M, Furey T, Brent M, Prange C, Schreiber K, Shapiro N, Bhat NK, Hopkins RF, Hsie F, Driscoll T, Soares MB, Casavant TL, Scheetz TE, Brown-stein MJ, Usdin TB, Toshiyuki S, Carninci P, Piao Y, Dudekula DB, Ko MS, Kawakami K, Suzuki Y, Sugano S, Gruber CE, Smith MR, Simmons B, Moore T, Waterman R, Johnson SL, Ruan Y, Wei CL, Mathavan S, Gunaratne PH, Wu J, Garcia AM, Hulyk SW, Fuh E, Yuan Y, Sneed A, Kowis C, Hodgson A, Muzny DM, McPherson J, Gibbs RA, Fahey J, Helton E, Ketteman M, Madan A, Rodrigues S, Sanchez A, Whiting M, Madari A, Young AC, Wetherby KD, Granite SJ, Kwong PN, Brinkley CP, Pearson RL, Bouffard GG, Blakesly RW, Green ED, Dickson MC, Rodriguez AC, Grimwood J, Schmutz J, Myers RM, Butterfield YS, Griffith M, Griffith OL, Krzywinski MI, Liao N, Morin R, Morrin R, Palmquist D, Petrescu AS, Skalska U, Smailus DE, Stott JM, Schnerch A, Schein JE, Jones SJ, Holt RA, Baross A, Marra MA, Clifton S, Makowski KA, Bosak S, Malek J and MGC Project Team

    The National Institutes of Health's Mammalian Gene Collection (MGC) project was designed to generate and sequence a publicly accessible cDNA resource containing a complete open reading frame (ORF) for every human and mouse gene. The project initially used a random strategy to select clones from a large number of cDNA libraries from diverse tissues. Candidate clones were chosen based on 5'-EST sequences, and then fully sequenced to high accuracy and analyzed by algorithms developed for this project. Currently, more than 11,000 human and 10,000 mouse genes are represented in MGC by at least one clone with a full ORF. The random selection approach is now reaching a saturation point, and a transition to protocols targeted at the missing transcripts is now required to complete the mouse and human collections. Comparison of the sequence of the MGC clones to reference genome sequences reveals that most cDNA clones are of very high sequence quality, although it is likely that some cDNAs may carry missense variants as a consequence of experimental artifact, such as PCR, cloning, or reverse transcriptase errors. Recently, a rat cDNA component was added to the project, and ongoing frog (Xenopus) and zebrafish (Danio) cDNA projects were expanded to take advantage of the high-throughput MGC pipeline.

    Funded by: PHS HHS: N01-C0-12400

    Genome research 2004;14;10B;2121-7

  • A digenic cause of cleft lip in A-strain mice and definition of candidate genes for the two loci.

    Juriloff DM, Harris MJ and Dewell SL

    Department of Medical Genetics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British ColumbiaV6T 1Z3, Canada. juriloff@interchange.ubc.ca

    Background: Nonsyndromic cleft lip with or without cleft palate, CL(P), is a common human birth defect with a complex unknown genetic cause. The mouse model is the "A/-" strains. Our previous studies mapped two loci: clf1 on Chr11 and clf2 on Chr13--with a strong genetic maternal effect on the level of risk. Here we test the hypothesis that CL(P) is digenic and identify candidate genes for clf1 and clf2.

    Methods: We observed E14 CL(P) frequencies in backcross (BC1) embryos from a new cross of A/WySn to AXB-4/Pgn and from test crosses of three new "congenic RI" lines. Using new polymorphic markers from genes and our mapping panels of segregants and RI strains, we identified the candidate genes for clf1 and clf2. We sequenced the coding region of Ptch in A/WySn cDNA.

    Results: Seventy new BC1 CL(P) segregants (4%) were obtained, as predicted. All three new congenic RI lines homozygous for both clf1 and clf2 had A/WySn-level CL(P) frequencies (10-30%) in test crosses. The clf1 region contains 10 known genes (Arf2, Cdc27, Crhr1, Gosr2, Itgb3, Mapt, Myl4, Nsf, Wnt3, and Wnt9b). The clf2 region contains 17 known genes with human orthologs. Both regions contain additional potential genes. No causal mutation in Ptch coding sequence was found.

    Conclusions: In A-strain mice, nonsyndromic CL(P) is digenic, suggesting that nonsyndromic human CL(P) may also be digenic. The orthologous human genes are on 17q (clf1) and 9q, 8q and 5p (clf2), and good candidate genes are WNT3 or WNT9B (17q), and PTCH (9q) or MTRR (5p).

    Birth defects research. Part A, Clinical and molecular teratology 2004;70;8;509-18

  • Down-regulation of WW domain-containing oxidoreductase induces Tau phosphorylation in vitro. A potential role in Alzheimer's disease.

    Sze CI, Su M, Pugazhenthi S, Jambal P, Hsu LJ, Heath J, Schultz L and Chang NS

    Department of Pathology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, Colorado 80262, USA.

    Numerous enzymes hyperphosphorylate Tau in vivo, leading to the formation of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) in the neurons of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Compared with age-matched normal controls, we demonstrated here that the protein levels of WW domain-containing oxidoreductase WOX1 (also known as WWOX or FOR), its Tyr33-phosphorylated form, and WOX2 were significantly down-regulated in the neurons of AD hippocampi. Remarkably knock-down of WOX1 expression by small interfering RNA in neuroblastoma SK-N-SH cells spontaneously induced Tau phosphorylation at Thr212/Thr231 and Ser515/Ser516, enhanced phosphorylation of glycogen synthase kinase 3beta (GSK-3beta) and ERK, and enhanced NFT formation. Also an increased binding of phospho-GSK-3beta with phospho-Tau was observed in these WOX1 knock-down cells. In comparison, increased phosphorylation of Tau, GSK-3beta, and ERK, as well as NFT formation, was observed in the AD hippocampi. Activation of JNK1 by anisomycin further increased Tau phosphorylation, and SP600125 (a JNK inhibitor) and PD-98059 (an MEK1/2 inhibitor) blocked Tau phosphorylation and NFT formation in these WOX1 knock-down cells. Ectopic or endogenous WOX1 colocalized with Tau, JNK1, and GSK-3beta in neurons and cultured cells. 17Beta-estradiol, a neuronal protective hormone, increased the binding of WOX1 and GSK-3beta with Tau. Mapping analysis showed that WOX1 bound Tau via its COOH-terminal short-chain alcohol dehydrogenase/reductase domain. Together WOX1 binds Tau via its short-chain alcohol dehydrogenase/reductase domain and is likely to play a critical role in regulating Tau hyperphosphorylation and NFT formation in vivo.

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2004;279;29;30498-506

  • Gem GTPase and tau: morphological changes induced by gem GTPase in cho cells are antagonized by tau.

    Oyama F, Kotliarova S, Harada A, Ito M, Miyazaki H, Ueyama Y, Hirokawa N, Nukina N and Ihara Y

    Department of Neuropathology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.

    A series of observations have indicated that tau, one of the major microtubule-associated proteins, is involved in neuronal cell morphogenesis and axonal maintenance. Tau is also the major component of paired helical filaments found in brains affected by Alzheimer's disease. To explore an as yet unidentified role of tau in vivo, approximately 11,000 mRNAs were profiled from tau-deficient mouse brains and compared with those from control brains at the same ages. The expression of Gem GTPase, a small GTP-binding protein of the ras superfamily, was significantly increased in the brains of tau-deficient mice at 8 weeks of age. Because Gem GTPase is a negative regulator of the Rho-Rho kinase pathway for cytoskeletal organization, this protein was transiently overexpressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells that do not express tau. Overexpression of Gem GTPase induced a marked elongation of Chinese hamster ovary cells, and simultaneous expression of tau eliminated this effect, although tau did not bind directly to Gem GTPase. This anti-elongation activity of tau was attributed to its microtubule-binding domain, and homologous domains of microtubule-associated proteins 2 and 4 exhibited similar antagonistic activities. Taken together, the present results indicate that the level of Gem GTPase and its cell elongation activity are modulated by tau and suggest that tau may be involved in a Gem GTPase-mediated signal transduction pathway.

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2004;279;26;27272-7

  • Expression of MeCP2 in postmitotic neurons rescues Rett syndrome in mice.

    Luikenhuis S, Giacometti E, Beard CF and Jaenisch R

    Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 9 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA.

    Mutations in MECP2 are the cause of Rett syndrome (RTT) in humans, a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects mainly girls. MeCP2 is a protein that binds CpG dinucleotides and is thought to act as a global transcriptional repressor. It is highly expressed in neurons, but not in glia, of the postnatal brain. The timing of MeCP2 activation correlates with the maturation of the central nervous system, and recent reports suggest that MeCP2 may be involved in the formation of synaptic contacts and may function in activity-dependent neuronal gene expression. Deletion or targeted mutation of Mecp2 in mice leads to a Rett-like phenotype. Selective mutation of Mecp2 in postnatal neurons leads to a similar, although delayed, phenotype, suggesting that MeCP2 plays a role in postmitotic neurons. Here we test the hypothesis that the symptoms of RTT are exclusively caused by a neuronal MeCP2 deficiency by placing Mecp2 expression under the control of a neuron-specific promoter. Expression of the Mecp2 transgene in postmitotic neurons resulted in symptoms of severe motor dysfunction. Transgene expression in Mecp2 mutant mice, however, rescued the RTT phenotype.

    Funded by: NCI NIH HHS: CA87869, R01 CA087869

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2004;101;16;6033-8

  • CHIP and Hsp70 regulate tau ubiquitination, degradation and aggregation.

    Petrucelli L, Dickson D, Kehoe K, Taylor J, Snyder H, Grover A, De Lucia M, McGowan E, Lewis J, Prihar G, Kim J, Dillmann WH, Browne SE, Hall A, Voellmy R, Tsuboi Y, Dawson TM, Wolozin B, Hardy J and Hutton M

    Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL 32224, USA.

    Molecular chaperones, ubiquitin ligases and proteasome impairment have been implicated in several neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, which are characterized by accumulation of abnormal protein aggregates (e.g. tau and alpha-synuclein respectively). Here we report that CHIP, an ubiquitin ligase that interacts directly with Hsp70/90, induces ubiquitination of the microtubule associated protein, tau. CHIP also increases tau aggregation. Consistent with this observation, diverse of tau lesions in human postmortem tissue were found to be immunopositive for CHIP. Conversely, induction of Hsp70 through treatment with either geldanamycin or heat shock factor 1 leads to a decrease in tau steady-state levels and a selective reduction in detergent insoluble tau. Furthermore, 30-month-old mice overexpressing inducible Hsp70 show a significant reduction in tau levels. Together these data demonstrate that the Hsp70/CHIP chaperone system plays an important role in the regulation of tau turnover and the selective elimination of abnormal tau species. Hsp70/CHIP may therefore play an important role in the pathogenesis of tauopathies and also represents a potential therapeutic target.

    Funded by: NINDS NIH HHS: R01-NS41816-01

    Human molecular genetics 2004;13;7;703-14

  • Discrete gene sets depend on POU domain transcription factor Brn3b/Brn-3.2/POU4f2 for their expression in the mouse embryonic retina.

    Mu X, Beremand PD, Zhao S, Pershad R, Sun H, Scarpa A, Liang S, Thomas TL and Klein WH

    Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.

    Brn3b/Brn-3.2/POU4f2 is a POU domain transcription factor that is essential for retinal ganglion cell (RGC) differentiation, axonal outgrowth and survival. Our goal was to establish a link between Brn3b and the downstream events leading to RGC differentiation. We sought to determine both the number and types of genes that depend on Brn3b for their expression. RNA probes from wild-type and Brn3b(-/-) E14.5, E16.5 and E18.5 mouse retinas were hybridized to a microarray containing 18,816 retina-expressed cDNAs. At E14.5, we identified 87 genes whose expression was significantly altered in the absence of Brn3b and verified the results by real-time PCR and in situ hybridization. These genes fell into discrete sets that encoded transcription factors, proteins associated with neuron integrity and function, and secreted signaling molecules. We found that Brn3b influenced gene expression in non RGCs of the retina by controlling the expression of secreted signaling molecules such as sonic hedgehog and myostatin/Gdf8. At later developmental stages, additional alterations in gene expression were secondary consequences of aberrant RGC differentiation caused by the absence of Brn3b. Our results demonstrate that a small but crucial fraction of the RGC transcriptome is dependent on Brn3b. The Brn3b-dependent gene sets therefore provide a unique molecular signature for the developing retina.

    Funded by: NCI NIH HHS: CA16672; NEI NIH HHS: EY11930, EY13523

    Development (Cambridge, England) 2004;131;6;1197-210

  • Glycogen synthase kinase-3 plays a crucial role in tau exon 10 splicing and intranuclear distribution of SC35. Implications for Alzheimer's disease.

    Hernández F, Pérez M, Lucas JJ, Mata AM, Bhat R and Avila J

    Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas/CSIC/Universidad Autónoma, Fac. Ciencias. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid, Spain.

    Tauopathies, including Alzheimer's disease, are neurodegenerative disorders in which tau protein accumulates as a consequence of alterations in its metabolism. At least three different types of alterations have been described; in some cases, an aberrant mRNA splicing of tau exon 10 occurs; in other cases, the disorder is a consequence of missense mutations and, in most cases, aberrant tau hyperphosphorylation takes place. Glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) has emerged as a key kinase that is able to interact with several proteins involved in the etiology of Alzheimer's disease and other tauopathies. Here, we have evaluated whether GSK-3 is also able to modulate tau-mRNA splicing. Our data demonstrate that GSK-3 inhibition in cultured neurons affects tau splicing resulting in an increase in tau mRNA containing exon 10. Pre-mRNA splicing is catalyzed by a multimolecular complex including members of the serine/arginine-rich (SR) family of splicing factors. Immunofluorescence studies showed that after GSK-3 inhibition, SC35, a member of the SR family, is redistributed and enriched in nuclear speckles and colocalizes with the kinase. Furthermore, immunoprecipitated SC35 is phosphorylated by recombinant GSK-3beta. Phosphorylation of a peptide from the SR domain by GSK-3 revealed that the peptide needs to be prephosphorylated, suggesting the involvement of a priming kinase. Our results demonstrate that GSK-3 plays a crucial role in tau exon 10 splicing, raising the possibility that GSK3 could contribute to tauopathies via aberrant tau splicing.

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2004;279;5;3801-6

  • Quantification of synapse formation and maintenance in vivo in the absence of synaptic release.

    Bouwman J, Maia AS, Camoletto PG, Posthuma G, Roubos EW, Oorschot VM, Klumperman J and Verhage M

    Rudolf Magnus Institute for Neurosciences, University of Utrecht Medical Center, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

    Outgrowing axons in the developing nervous system secrete neurotransmitters and neuromodulatory substances, which is considered to stimulate synaptogenesis. However, some synapses develop independent of presynaptic secretion. To investigate the role of secretion in synapse formation and maintenance in vivo, we quantified synapses and their morphology in the neocortical marginal zone of munc18-1 deficient mice which lack both evoked and spontaneous secretion [Science 287 (2000) 864]. Histochemical analyses at embryonic day 18 (E18) showed that the overall organization of the neocortex and the number of cells were similar in mutants and controls. Western blot analysis revealed equal concentrations of pre- and post-synaptic marker proteins in mutants and controls and immunocytochemical analyses indicated that these markers were targeted to the neuropil of the synaptic layer in the mutant neocortex. Electron microscopy revealed that at E16 immature synapses had formed both in mutants and controls. These synapses had a similar synapse diameter, active zone length and contained similar amounts of synaptic vesicles, which were immuno-positive for two synaptic vesicle markers. However, these synapses were three times less abundant in the mutant. Two days later, E18, synapses in the controls had more total and docked vesicles, but not in the mutant. Furthermore, synapses were now five times less abundant in the mutant. In both mutant and controls, synapse-like structures were observed with irregular shaped vesicles on both sides of the synaptic cleft. These 'multivesicular structures' were immuno-positive for synaptic vesicle markers and were four times more abundant in the mutant. We conclude that in the absence of presynaptic secretion immature synapses with a normal morphology form, but fewer in number. These secretion-deficient synapses might fail to mature and instead give rise to multivesicular structures. These two observations suggest that secretion of neurotransmitters and neuromodulatory substances is required for synapse maintenance, not for synaptogenesis. Multivesicular structures may develop out of unstable synapses.

    Neuroscience 2004;126;1;115-26

  • Wnk1 kinase deficiency lowers blood pressure in mice: a gene-trap screen to identify potential targets for therapeutic intervention.

    Zambrowicz BP, Abuin A, Ramirez-Solis R, Richter LJ, Piggott J, BeltrandelRio H, Buxton EC, Edwards J, Finch RA, Friddle CJ, Gupta A, Hansen G, Hu Y, Huang W, Jaing C, Key BW, Kipp P, Kohlhauff B, Ma ZQ, Markesich D, Payne R, Potter DG, Qian N, Shaw J, Schrick J, Shi ZZ, Sparks MJ, Van Sligtenhorst I, Vogel P, Walke W, Xu N, Zhu Q, Person C and Sands AT

    Lexicon Genetics, 8800 Technology Forest Place, The Woodlands, TX 77381, USA. brian@lexgen.com

    The availability of both the mouse and human genome sequences allows for the systematic discovery of human gene function through the use of the mouse as a model system. To accelerate the genetic determination of gene function, we have developed a sequence-tagged gene-trap library of >270,000 mouse embryonic stem cell clones representing mutations in approximately 60% of mammalian genes. Through the generation and phenotypic analysis of knockout mice from this resource, we are undertaking a functional screen to identify genes regulating physiological parameters such as blood pressure. As part of this screen, mice deficient for the Wnk1 kinase gene were generated and analyzed. Genetic studies in humans have shown that large intronic deletions in WNK1 lead to its overexpression and are responsible for pseudohypoaldosteronism type II, an autosomal dominant disorder characterized by hypertension, increased renal salt reabsorption, and impaired K+ and H+ excretion. Consistent with the human genetic studies, Wnk1 heterozygous mice displayed a significant decrease in blood pressure. Mice homozygous for the Wnk1 mutation died during embryonic development before day 13 of gestation. These results demonstrate that Wnk1 is a regulator of blood pressure critical for development and illustrate the utility of a functional screen driven by a sequence-based mutagenesis approach.

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2003;100;24;14109-14

  • Hyperphosphorylated tau and paired helical filament-like structures in the brains of mice carrying mutant amyloid precursor protein and mutant presenilin-1 transgenes.

    Kurt MA, Davies DC, Kidd M, Duff K and Howlett DR

    St. George's Hospital Medical School, London, UK.

    Senile plaques composed mainly of beta-amyloid (Abeta) and neurofibrillary tangles principally composed of hyperphosphorylated tau are the major pathological features of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Despite the fact that increased expression of amyloid precursor protein (APP) and presenilin-1 (PS1) transgenes in mice lead to increased Abeta deposition in plaquelike structures in the brain, little is known about the nature and distribution of tau in these mice. Therefore the relationship between Abeta and hyperphosphorylated tau was investigated in mice carrying mutant APP and mutant PS1 transgenes using both light (LM) and electron microscopy (EM) with immunocytochemistry. LM immunocytochemistry revealed cerebral Abeta deposits to be present from 8 weeks of age, whereas hyperphosphorylated tau was not detected until 24 weeks of age, when it appeared as punctate deposits in close association with the Abeta deposits in the cortex and hippocampus. However, dystrophic neurites were not as heavily immunolabeled as they are in AD brain. EM revealed that aggregations of straight filaments (10-12 nm wide) were present in some cellular processes at the periphery of Abeta plaques in 8-month-old APP/PS1 mice. In one such mouse, single filaments and paired filaments showing a helical configuration (50-55 nm half-period, 25 nm max. width) were present in a dark, atrophic hippocampal neuron. Immunogold labeling of APP/PS1 mouse brain revealed hyperphosphorylated tau epitopes in some dystrophic neurites from 24 weeks of age that were similar to those present in AD. These results suggest that hyperphosphorylated tau appears in APP/PS1 mouse brain after the onset of Abeta deposition and although it is associated with Abeta deposits, its distribution is not identical to that in AD.

    Neurobiology of disease 2003;14;1;89-97

  • A large-scale, gene-driven mutagenesis approach for the functional analysis of the mouse genome.

    Hansen J, Floss T, Van Sloun P, Füchtbauer EM, Vauti F, Arnold HH, Schnütgen F, Wurst W, von Melchner H and Ruiz P

    Institute of Developmental Genetics, GSF-National Research Center for Environment and Health, D-85764 Neuherberg, Germany.

    A major challenge of the postgenomic era is the functional characterization of every single gene within the mammalian genome. In an effort to address this challenge, we assembled a collection of mutations in mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells, which is the largest publicly accessible collection of such mutations to date. Using four different gene-trap vectors, we generated 5,142 sequences adjacent to the gene-trap integration sites (gene-trap sequence tags; http://genetrap.de) from >11,000 ES cell clones. Although most of the gene-trap vector insertions occurred randomly throughout the genome, we found both vector-independent and vector-specific integration "hot spots." Because >50% of the hot spots were vector-specific, we conclude that the most effective way to saturate the mouse genome with gene-trap insertions is by using a combination of gene-trap vectors. When a random sample of gene-trap integrations was passaged to the germ line, 59% (17 of 29) produced an observable phenotype in transgenic mice, a frequency similar to that achieved by conventional gene targeting. Thus, gene trapping allows a large-scale and cost-effective production of ES cell clones with mutations distributed throughout the genome, a resource likely to accelerate genome annotation and the in vivo modeling of human disease.

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2003;100;17;9918-22

  • Hyperphosphorylation and aggregation of tau in mice expressing normal human tau isoforms.

    Andorfer C, Kress Y, Espinoza M, de Silva R, Tucker KL, Barde YA, Duff K and Davies P

    Departments of Neuroscience and Pathology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, USA.

    Neurofibrillary tangles are composed of insoluble aggregates of the microtubule-associated protein tau. In Alzheimer's disease the accumulation of neurofibrillary tangles occurs in the absence of tau mutations. Here we present mice that develop pathology from non-mutant human tau, in the absence of other exogenous factors, including beta-amyloid. The pathology in these mice is Alzheimer-like, with hyperphosphorylated tau accumulating as aggregated paired helical filaments. This pathologic tau accumulates in the cell bodies and dendrites of neurons in a spatiotemporally relevant distribution.

    Funded by: NIMH NIH HHS: MH 38623; NINDS NIH HHS: NS 07098

    Journal of neurochemistry 2003;86;3;582-90

  • Inactivation of integrin-linked kinase induces aberrant tau phosphorylation via sustained activation of glycogen synthase kinase 3beta in N1E-115 neuroblastoma cells.

    Ishii T, Furuoka H, Muroi Y and Nishimura M

    Department of Pathobiological Science, Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Obihiro Hokkaido 080-8555, Japan. ishii@obihiro.ac.jp

    Integrin-linked kinase (ILK) is a focal adhesion serine/threonine protein kinase with an important role in integrin and growth factor signaling pathways. Recently, we demonstrated that ILK is expressed in N1E-115 neuroblastoma cells and controls integrin-dependent neurite outgrowth in serum-starved cells grown on laminin (Ishii, T., Satoh, E., and Nishimura, M. (2001) J. Biol. Chem. 276, 42994-43003). Here we report that ILK controls tau phosphorylation via regulation of glycogen synthase kinase-3beta (GSK-3beta) activity in N1E-115 cells. Stable transfection of a kinase-deficient ILK mutant (DN-ILK) resulted in aberrant tau phosphorylation in N1E-115 cells at sites recognized by the Tau-1 antibody that are identical to some of the phosphorylation sites in paired helical filaments, PHF-tau, in brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease. The tau phosphorylation levels in the DN-ILK-expressing cells are constant under normal and differentiating conditions. On the other hand, aberrant tau phosphorylation was not observed in the parental control cells. ILK inactivation resulted in an increase in the active form but a decrease in the inactive form of GSK-3beta, which is a candidate kinase involved in PHF-tau formation. Moreover, inhibition of GSK-3beta with lithium prevented aberrant tau phosphorylation in the DN-ILK-expressing cells. These results suggest that ILK inactivation results in aberrant tau phosphorylation via sustained activation of GSK-3beta in N1E-115 Cells. ILK directly phosphorylates GSK-3beta and inhibits its activity. Therefore, endogenous ILK protects against GSK-3beta-induced aberrant tau phosphorylation via inhibition of GSK-3beta activity in N1E-115 cells.

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2003;278;29;26970-5

  • Isoforms changes of tau protein during development in various species.

    Takuma H, Arawaka S and Mori H

    Department of Neuroscience, Osaka City University Medical School, 1-4-3 Asahimachi, Abenoku, 545-8585, Osaka, Japan.

    Tau protein is one of the major microtubule-associated proteins of the vertebrate nervous system. Some kinds of isoforms, for example, six isoforms in humans, are generated from a single gene by alternative mRNA splicing. The expression of tau protein is widely believed to be developmentally and pathologically regulated. We examined developmental changes in tau protein from humans, rats, mice, and guinea pigs to determine the universal function of each isoform. Tau isoforms, composed of variants in the amino terminal and carboxyl terminal regions, gradually shifted through development in protein. The developmental changes in the carboxyl terminal region were found to be conserved in all species in which three-repeat tau isoforms were dominant in the fetus or neonate, while four-repeat tau isoforms were dominant in adult brain. On the other hand, the changes in the amino terminal region were not identical in these species. These observations were confirmed using isoform-specific antibodies which could discriminate the numbers of amino-terminus insertions and carboxy-terminus repeat insertions. Developmental regulation of 3- and 4-repeat tau isoforms may contribute to axonal development and neural plasticity.

    Brain research. Developmental brain research 2003;142;2;121-7

  • Tau phosphorylation by cyclin-dependent kinase 5/p39 during brain development reduces its affinity for microtubules.

    Takahashi S, Saito T, Hisanaga S, Pant HC and Kulkarni AB

    Functional Genomics Unit, NIDCR, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.

    The microtubule-associated protein tau is a developmentally regulated neuronal phosphoprotein. The phosphorylation of tau reduces its ability to bind and stabilize axonal microtubules during axonal growth. Although tau is phosphorylated by cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) in vitro, its in vivo roles remain unclear. Here, we show that tau is phosphorylated by Cdk5/p39 during brain development, resulting in a reduction of its affinity for microtubules. The activity of Cdk5 is tightly regulated by association with its neuronal activators, p35 or p39. The p35 and p39 expression levels were investigated in the developing mouse brain; the p39 expression level was higher in embryonic hind brain and spinal cord and in postnatal cerebral cortex, whereas that of p35 was most prominent in cerebral cortex at earlier stages of development. The ability of Cdk5 to phosphorylate tau was higher when in association with p39 than in association with p35. Tau phosphorylation at Ser-202 and Thr-205 was decreased in Cdk5-/- mouse brain but not in p35-/- mouse brain, suggesting that Cdk5/p39 is responsible for the in vivo phosphorylation of tau at these sites. Our data suggest that tau phosphorylation by Cdk5 may provide the neuronal microtubules with dynamic properties in a region-specific and developmentally regulated manner.

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2003;278;12;10506-15

  • Identification of genetic loci affecting mouse-adapted bovine spongiform encephalopathy incubation time in mice.

    Lloyd SE, Uphill JB, Targonski PV, Fisher EM and Collinge J

    MRC Prion Unit, Department of Neurodegenerative Diseases, Institute of Neurology, University College, London, W21N 3BG, UK.

    Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative disorders of humans and animals, which include bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and its human form, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). They are characterized by a prolonged incubation period, which is known to be influenced by polymorphisms in the prion protein gene. Previous studies of inbred mice have demonstrated that additional genetic loci also contribute to the observed variation in incubation period. However, a substantial transmission barrier between cow and mouse complicates studies using BSE. As a result, primary transmissions display large variations in incubation period and not all animals develop clinical signs of disease. To identify quantitative trait loci for BSE without the presence of a transmission barrier, we analysed 124 animals from an F2 intercross between CAST/Ei and NZW/OlaHsd mice and challenged them intracerebrally with a strain of BSE that was passaged twice through C57BL/6OlaHsd mice. Interval mapping identified two highly significant linked regions on chromosomes 2 and 11 with peak lod scores of 6.34 and 4.77, respectively. Composite interval mapping suggests that chromosome 2 includes three linked quantitative trait loci. Loci in the same position on chromosomes 2 and 11 were also identified in a previous study using the same mouse cross but infected with Chandler/RML scrapie prions. If these are the same loci, it suggests that these loci may be influencing incubation time independently of prion strain. This provides hope that it may be possible to identify human quantitative trait loci for prion incubation time using mouse models that may allow identification of at-risk individuals and the discovery of novel therapeutic targets.

    Neurogenetics 2002;4;2;77-81

  • Transgenic mouse model of tauopathies with glial pathology and nervous system degeneration.

    Higuchi M, Ishihara T, Zhang B, Hong M, Andreadis A, Trojanowski J and Lee VM

    Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

    Frontotemporal dementias (FTDs), including corticobasal degeneration (CBD) and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), are neurodegenerative tauopathies characterized by widespread CNS neuronal and glial tau pathologies, but there are no tau transgenic (Tg) mice that model neurodegeneration with glia tau lesions. Thus, we generated Tg mice overexpressing human tau in neurons and glia. No neuronal tau aggregates were detected, but old mice developed Thioflavin S- and Gallyas-positive glial tau pathology resembling CBD astrocytic plaques. Tau-immunoreactive and Gallyas-positive oligodendroglial coiled bodies (similar to CBD and PSP), glial degeneration, and motor deficits were associated with age-dependent accumulations of insoluble hyperphosphorylated human tau and tau immunopositive filaments in degenerating glial cells. Thus, tau-positive glial lesions similar to human FTDs occur in these Tg mice, and these pathologies are linked to glial and axonal degeneration.

    Neuron 2002;35;3;433-46

  • Modulation of the membrane-binding projection domain of tau protein: splicing regulation of exon 3.

    Arikan MC, Memmott J, Broderick JA, Lafyatis R, Screaton G, Stamm S and Andreadis A

    Department of Biomedical Sciences, E.K. Shriver Center for Mental Retardation, Waltham, MA 02454, USA.

    Tau is a microtubule-associated protein whose transcript undergoes complex regulated splicing in the mammalian nervous system. The N-terminal domain of the protein interacts with the axonal membrane, and is modulated by differential inclusion of exons 2 and 3. These two tau exons are alternatively spliced cassettes, in which exon 3 never appears independently of exon 2. Previous work with tau minigene constructs indicated that exon 3 is intrinsically suboptimal and its primary regulator is a weak branch point. In this study, we confirm the role of the weak branch point in the regulation of exon 3 but also show that the exon is additionally regulated by a combination of exonic enhancers and silencers. Furthermore, we demonstrate that known splicing regulators affect the ratio of exon 3 isoforms, Lastly, we tentatively pinpoint the site of action of several splicing factors which regulate tau exon 3.

    Funded by: NINDS NIH HHS: NS38051

    Brain research. Molecular brain research 2002;101;1-2;109-21

  • Abeta-degrading endopeptidase, neprilysin, in mouse brain: synaptic and axonal localization inversely correlating with Abeta pathology.

    Fukami S, Watanabe K, Iwata N, Haraoka J, Lu B, Gerard NP, Gerard C, Fraser P, Westaway D, St George-Hyslop P and Saido TC

    Laboratory for Proteolytic Neuroscience, RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Wako-shi, Saitama, Japan.

    Metabolism of amyloid-beta peptide (Abeta) is closely associated with the pathology and etiology of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Since neprilysin is the only rate-limiting catabolic peptidase proven by reverse genetics to participate in Abeta metabolism in vivo, we performed detailed immunohistochemical analysis of neprilysin in mouse brain using neprilysin-deficient mice as a negative control. The aim was to assess, at both the cellular and subcellular levels, where Abeta undergoes neprilysin-dependent degradation in the brain and how neprilysin localization relates to Abeta pathology in amyloid precursor protein (APP)-transgenic mice. In hippocampus, neprilysin was present in the stratum pyramidale and stratum lacunosum-moleculare of the CA1-3 fields and the molecular layer of the dentate gyrus. Confocal double immunofluorescence analyses revealed the subcellular localization of neprilysin along axons and at synapses. This observation suggests that after synthesis in the soma, neprilysin, a type II membrane-associated protein, is axonally transported to the terminals, where Abeta degradation is likely to take place. Among various cell types, GABAergic and metabotropic glutamate 2/3 receptor-positive neurons but not catecholaminergic or cholinergic neurons, expressed neprilysin in hippocampus and neocortex, implying the presence of a cell type-specific mechanism that regulates neprilysin gene expression. As expected, Abeta deposition correlated inversely with neprilysin expression in TgCRND8 APP-transgenic mice. These observations not only support the notion that neprilysin functions as a major Abeta-degrading enzyme in the brain but also suggest that down-regulation of neprilysin activity, which may be caused by aging, is likely to elevate local concentrations of Abeta at and around neuronal synapses.

    Neuroscience research 2002;43;1;39-56

  • Tau is essential to beta -amyloid-induced neurotoxicity.

    Rapoport M, Dawson HN, Binder LI, Vitek MP and Ferreira A

    Institute for Neuroscience, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.

    Senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, the two hallmark lesions of Alzheimer's disease, are the results of the pathological deposition of proteins normally present throughout the brain. Senile plaques are extracellular deposits of fibrillar beta-amyloid peptide (Abeta); neurofibrillary tangles represent intracellular bundles of self-assembled hyperphosphorylated tau proteins. Although these two lesions are often present in the same brain areas, a mechanistic link between them has yet to be established. In the present study, we analyzed whether tau plays a key role in fibrillar Abeta-induced neurite degeneration in central neurons. Cultured hippocampal neurons obtained from wild-type, tau knockout, and human tau transgenic mice were treated with fibrillar Abeta. Morphological analysis indicated that neurons expressing either mouse or human tau proteins degenerated in the presence of Abeta. On the other hand, tau-depleted neurons showed no signs of degeneration in the presence of Abeta. These results provide direct evidence supporting a key role for tau in the mechanisms leading to Abeta-induced neurodegeneration in the central nervous system. In addition, the analysis of the composition of the cytoskeleton of tau-depleted neurons suggested that the formation of more dynamic microtubules might confer resistance to Abeta-mediated neurodegeneration.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: AG15383; NINDS NIH HHS: NS39080, R01 NS039080

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2002;99;9;6364-9

  • Participation of structural microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) in the development of neuronal polarity.

    González-Billault C, Engelke M, Jiménez-Mateos EM, Wandosell F, Cáceres A and Avila J

    Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa, CSIC, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Campus Cantoblanco, Madrid, Spain.

    Several lines of evidence have indicated that changes in the structure of neuronal cytoskeleton provide the support for the dramatic morphological changes that occur during neuronal differentiation. It has been proposed that microtubule-associated proteins can contribute to the development of this phenomenon by controlling the dynamic properties of microtubules. In this report we have characterized the effect of the combined suppression of MAP1B and tau, and MAP1B and MAP2 on neuronal polarization in cultured hippocampal cells grown on a laminin-containing substrate. We have taken advantage of the use of a mouse line deficient in MAP1B expression obtained by the gene trapping approach. In addition to this engineered mice line we used the antisense oligonucleotide approach to induce the suppression of tau or MAP2, in wild type and MAP1B-deficient neurons. Together these results show a synergistic role for MAP1B/MAP2 and MAP1B/TAU.

    Journal of neuroscience research 2002;67;6;713-9

  • Process outgrowth of oligodendrocytes is promoted by interaction of fyn kinase with the cytoskeletal protein tau.

    Klein C, Kramer EM, Cardine AM, Schraven B, Brandt R and Trotter J

    Departments of Neurobiology and Immunology, University of Heidelberg, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.

    Fyn kinase plays an important role during myelination and has been shown to promote morphological differentiation of cultured oligodendrocytes. We analyzed the downstream targets of Fyn kinase in oligodendrocytes. Because process outgrowth and wrapping of axons involve cytoskeletal rearrangement, we focused on cytoskeletal proteins linked to Fyn. Here we demonstrate that Fyn binds to the cytoskeletal proteins Tau and alpha-Tubulin in oligodendrocytes. Tau interacts with the Fyn SH3 domain whereas alpha-Tubulin binds to the Fyn SH2 and SH3 domains. To study the function of the Fyn-Tau interaction in oligodendrocytes, we designed a Tau deletion mutant that would compete with endogenous Tau-Fyn binding in transfected cells. The mutant Tau protein binds to the Fyn SH3 domain but lacks the microtubuli interaction domain and thus cannot bind to microtubuli. In the presence of the mutant Tau protein, a reduction of the process number and process length in oligodendroglial cells was observed. This effect is likely to be caused by interference with the Fyn-Tau-microtubuli cascade rather than inactivation of the kinase, because Fyn bound to the mutant Tau retains activity. A similar inhibition of process outgrowth was observed when oliogodendroglial cells were cultured in the presence of Fumonisin B1, an inhibitor of sphingolipid synthesis that prevents the formation of rafts. Because ligation of the cell adhesion molecule F3 on oligodendrocytes leads to activation of Fyn kinase localized in rafts, these findings suggest that recruitment of Tau and Tubulin to activated Fyn kinase in rafts is an important step in the initiation of myelination.

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2002;22;3;698-707

  • Coexpression of GSK-3beta corrects phenotypic aberrations of dorsal root ganglion cells, cultured from adult transgenic mice overexpressing human protein tau.

    Nuydens R, Van Den Kieboom G, Nolten C, Verhulst C, Van Osta P, Spittaels K, Van den Haute C, De Feyter E, Geerts H and Van Leuven F

    CNS Discovery Research, Janssen Research Foundation, Beerse, Belgium.

    Coexpression of constitutively active GSK-3beta[S9A] rescued the axonal pathology induced by overexpression of human tau in transgenic mice (Spittaels et al., (2000) J. Biol. Chem. 275, 41340-41349). We isolated dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neuronal cultures from adult tau4R- and tau4R x GSK-3beta-transgenic mice to define the mechanisms at the cellular and subcellular level. DRG from tau4R-transgenics showed a reduced sprouting capacity while density and stability of microtubules in the axonal processes were significantly increased. Video-enhanced contrast microscopy demonstrated a dramatic inhibition of fast axonal transport. Coexpression of GSK-3beta increased tau phosphorylation and reversed the effects on microtubule stability and saltatory motion. In DRG from GSK-3beta single transgenics, increased tau phosphorylation was evident without any major effects on microtubule stability or axonal transport. These observations support the hypothesis that excess tau competed with motor-proteins for binding to microtubules and/or that a rigid microtubular system inhibits axonal transport.

    Neurobiology of disease 2002;9;1;38-48

  • FTDP-17 mutations in tau transgenic mice provoke lysosomal abnormalities and Tau filaments in forebrain.

    Lim F, Hernández F, Lucas JJ, Gómez-Ramos P, Morán MA and Avila J

    Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 28049 Madrid, Spain.

    The tauopathies, which include Alzheimer's disease (AD) and frontotemporal dementias, are a group of neurodegenerative disorders characterized by filamentous Tau aggregates. That Tau dysfunction can cause neurodegeneration is indicated by pathogenic tau mutations in frontotemporal dementia and parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 (FTDP-17). To investigate how Tau alterations provoke neurodegeneration we generated transgenic mice expressing human Tau with four tubulin-binding repeats (increased by FTDP-17 splice donor mutations) and three FTDP-17 missense mutations: G272V, P301L, and R406W. Ultrastructural analysis of mutant Tau-positive neurons revealed a pretangle appearance, with filaments of Tau and increased numbers of lysosomes displaying aberrant morphology similar to those found in AD. Lysosomal alterations were confirmed by activity analysis of the marker acid phosphatase, which was increased in both transgenic mice and transfected neuroblastoma cells. Our results show that Tau modifications can provoke lysosomal aberrations and suggest that this may be a cause of neurodegeneration in tauopathies.

    Molecular and cellular neurosciences 2001;18;6;702-14

  • The rate of Tau synthesis is differentially regulated during postnatal development in mouse cerebellum.

    Vilá-Ortiz GJ, Santa-Coloma TA, Carminatti H and Radrizzani M

    Instituto de Investigaciones Bioquímicas Fundación Campomar (IIB-UBA, IIBBA-CONICET), Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    1. Tau, which is a microtubule-associated protein, with mRNA targeted to the axon and growth cone, is involved in axonal elongation. During postnatal development in mouse, Tau expression in cerebellar granule cells is reduced afte the second postnatal week. The aim of this work was to study the regulation of the rate of the synthesis of Tau protein during the period of granule cell axonal growth in mouse cerebellum. 2. We found four [35S]methionine-labeled isoforms of Tau synthesized postnataly. Their levels remain constant from postnatal day 9 to 12 (P9-P12), and decreased by P20. 3. The rate of Tau synthesis showed differences with the rate of synthesis of total proteins. They also differ from proteins phosphatases 2A and 2B, both associated with the regulation of Tau function. In addition, the turnover of newly synthesized Tau increased at P20, compared with P9 and P12. 4. These results imply a specific developmental regulation of mRNA translation of Tau, and indicate that, after the period of synapse formation is complete, and therefore axonal growth has finished (P20), only a limited number of new Tau molecules are synthesized. This might reflect that, after synapse formation is complete, newly synthesized Tau molecules are not longer needed.

    Cellular and molecular neurobiology 2001;21;5;535-43

  • p35 and p39 are essential for cyclin-dependent kinase 5 function during neurodevelopment.

    Ko J, Humbert S, Bronson RT, Takahashi S, Kulkarni AB, Li E and Tsai LH

    Department of Pathology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

    Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) plays a pivotal role in brain development and neuronal migration. Cdk5 is abundant in postmitotic, terminally differentiated neurons. The ability of Cdk5 to phosphorylate substrates is dependent on activation by its neuronal-specific activators p35 and p39. There exist striking differences in the phenotypic severity of Cdk5-deficient mice and p35-deficient mice. Cdk5-null mutants show a more severe disruption of lamination in the cerebral cortex, hippocampus, and cerebellum. In addition, Cdk5-null mice display perinatal lethality, whereas p35-null mice are viable. These discrepancies have been attributed to the function of other Cdk5 activators, such as p39. To understand the roles of p39 and p35, we created p39-null mice and p35/p39 compound-mutant mice. Interestingly, p39-null mice show no obvious detectable abnormalities, whereas p35(-/-)p39(-/-) double-null mutants are perinatal lethal. We show here that the p35(-/-)p39(-/-) mutants exhibit phenotypes identical to those of the Cdk5-null mutant mice. Other compound-mutant mice with intermediate phenotypes allow us to determine the distinct and redundant functions between p35 and p39. Our data strongly suggest that p35 and p39 are essential for Cdk5 activity during the development of the nervous system. Thus, p35 and p39 are likely to be the principal, if not the only, activators of Cdk5.

    Funded by: NIGMS NIH HHS: GM53049

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2001;21;17;6758-71

  • A genomic sequence analysis of the mouse and human microtubule-associated protein tau.

    Poorkaj P, Kas A, D'Souza I, Zhou Y, Pham Q, Stone M, Olson MV and Schellenberg GD

    Geriatric Research Education Clinical Center 182-B, Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle Division, 1660 S. Columbian Way, Seattle, Washington 98108, USA.

    Microtubule associated protein tau (MAPT) encodes the microtubule associated protein tau, the primary component of neurofibrillary tangles found in Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. Mutations in the coding and intronic sequences of MAPT cause autosomal dominant frontotemporal dementia (FTDP-17). MAPT is also a candidate gene for progressive supranuclear palsy and hereditary dysphagic dementia. A human PAC (201 kb) and a mouse BAC (161 kb) containing the entire MAPT and Mtapt genes, respectively, were identified and sequenced. Comparative DNA sequence analysis revealed over 100 conserved non-repeat potential cis-acting regulatory sequences in or close to MAPT. Those islands with greater than 67% nucleotide identity range in size from 20 to greater than 1700 nucleotides. Over 90 single nucleotide polymorphisms were identified in MAPT that are candidate susceptibility alleles for neurodegenerative disease. The 5' and 3' flanking genes for MAPT are the corticotrophin-releasing factor receptor (CRFR) gene and KIAA1267, a gene of unknown function expressed in brain.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: R01-AG11762; PHS HHS: P010135316

    Mammalian genome : official journal of the International Mammalian Genome Society 2001;12;9;700-12

  • High-throughput sequence identification of gene coding variants within alcohol-related QTLs.

    Ehringer MA, Thompson J, Conroy O, Xu Y, Yang F, Canniff J, Beeson M, Gordon L, Bennett B, Johnson TE and Sikela JM

    Department of Pharmacology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, 4200 East Ninth Ave., Denver, Colorado 80262, USA.

    Low initial response to alcohol has been shown to be among the best predictors of development of alcoholism. A similar phenotypic measure, difference in initial sensitivity to ethanol, has been used for the genetic selection of two mouse strains, the Inbred Long-Sleep (ILS) and Inbred Short-Sleep (ISS) mice, and for the subsequent identification of four quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for alcohol sensitivity. We now report the application of high throughput comparative gene sequencing in the search for genes underlying these four QTLs. To carry out this search, over 1.7 million bases of comparative DNA sequence were generated from 68 candidate genes within the QTL intervals, corresponding to a survey of over 36,000 amino acids. Eight central nervous system genes, located within these QTLs, were identified that contain a total of 36 changes in protein coding sequence. Some of these coding variants are likely to contribute to the phenotypic variation between ILS/ISS animals, including sensitivity to alcohol, providing specific new genetic targets potentially important to the neuronal actions of alcohol.

    Funded by: NIAAA NIH HHS: 5 P50 AA03527, R01 AA08940, R01 AA11853, R02 AA00195; NIMH NIH HHS: MH16880-20

    Mammalian genome : official journal of the International Mammalian Genome Society 2001;12;8;657-63

  • Oligodendroglial tau filament formation in transgenic mice expressing G272V tau.

    Götz J, Tolnay M, Barmettler R, Chen F, Probst A and Nitsch RM

    Division of Psychiatry Research, University of Zürich, August Forel Str. 1, 8008 Zürich, Switzerland. goetz@bli.unizh.ch

    Genetic evidence indicates that several mutations in tau, including G272V, are linked to frontotemporal dementia with parkinsonism. We expressed this mutation in mouse brains by combining a prion protein promoter-driven expression system with an autoregulatory transactivator loop that resulted in high expression of human G272V tau in neurons and in oligodendrocytes. We show that G272V tau can form filaments in murine oligodendrocytes. Electron microscopy established that the filaments were either straight or had a twisted structure; these were 17-20 nm wide and had a periodicity of approximately 75 nm. Filament formation was associated with tau phosphorylation at distinct sites, including the AT8 epitope 202/205 in vivo. Immunogold electron microscopy of sarcosyl-extracted spinal cords from G272V transgenic mice using phosphorylation-dependent antibodies AT8 or AT100 identified several sparsely gold-labelled 6-nm filaments. In the spinal cord, fibrillary inclusions were also identified by thioflavin-S fluorescent microscopy in oligodendrocytes and motor neurons. These results establish that expression of the G272V mutation in mice causes oligodendroglial fibrillary lesions that are similar to those seen in human tauopathies.

    The European journal of neuroscience 2001;13;11;2131-40

  • Unravelling the complex genetics of cleft lip in the mouse model.

    Juriloff DM, Harris MJ and Brown CJ

    Department of Medical Genetics, University of British Columbia, 6174 University Boulevard, Vancouver, B.C., V6T 1Z3, Canada. juriloff@interchange.ubc.ca

    Nonsyndromic cleft lip in "A" strain mice and humans is genetically complex and is distinct from isolated cleft palate. Cleft lip embryos recovered in 2.4% of 1485 first backcross (BC1) segregants from a cross of A/WySnJ (24% cleft lip) and C57BL/6J (no cleft lip) in A/WySnJ mothers, and in testcrosses of 10 recombinant inbred (RI) strains (AXB/Pgn or BXA/Pgn), were used for gene mapping and for inference of genetic architecture. The A/WySnJ maternal genotype increased cleft lip risk in reciprocal crosses; the relevant genetic difference between AXB-6/Pgn (8%) and A/WySnJ (24%) is entirely maternal. A combination of new mapping panels (325 meioses), new markers, and a recombinant cleft lip embryo redefined the location of a recessive factor essential to cleft lip risk, clf1, and candidate genes Itgb3 and Crhr, to between D11Mit146/360 and D11Mit166/147. A screen of 54 YACs for 46 genes and SSLP loci located Wnt15, Wnt3, Crhr, Mtapt, Itgb3, Dlx3, and Dlx7 within the clf1 candidate region. The clf2 locus was newly mapped to Chromosome (Chr) 13 by a genome screen of BC1 segregants, and further defined to a 4-cM region between D13Mit13/54 and D13Mit231 by strain distribution patterns of cleft lip liability and markers in testcrossed RI strains. Specific combinations of marker genotypes associated with cleft lip risk indicated that high risk in A/WySnJ mice is caused by epistatic interaction between clf1 and clf2 in the context of a genetic maternal effect. Human homologs of clf1 and clf2 are expected to be on 17q and 5q/9q.

    Mammalian genome : official journal of the International Mammalian Genome Society 2001;12;6;426-35

  • Inhibition of neuronal maturation in primary hippocampal neurons from tau deficient mice.

    Dawson HN, Ferreira A, Eyster MV, Ghoshal N, Binder LI and Vitek MP

    Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine, Duke University, Durham, NC 27710 and OSV, Inc., Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA. dawso009@mc.duke.edu

    Conflicting evidence supports a role for tau as an essential neuronal cytoskeletal protein or as a redundant protein whose function can be fulfilled by other microtubule-associated proteins. To investigate the function of tau in axonogenesis, we created tau deficient mice by disrupting the TAU gene. The engineered mice do not express the tau protein, appear physically normal and are able to reproduce. In contrast to a previously reported tau knockout mouse, embryonic hippocampal cultures from tau deficient mice show a significant delay in maturation as measured by axonal and neuritic extensions. The classic technique of selectively enhancing axonal growth by growth on laminin substrates failed to restore normal neuronal maturation of tau knockout neurons. By mating human TAU-gene transgenic and tau knockout mice, we reconstituted tau-deficient neurons with human tau proteins and restored a normal pattern of axonal growth and neuronal maturation. The ability of human tau proteins to rescue tau-deficient mouse neurons confirms that tau expression affects the rate of neurite extension.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: AG0946, AG15307, AG15383; NINDS NIH HHS: NS39080

    Journal of cell science 2001;114;Pt 6;1179-87

  • Age-dependent induction of congophilic neurofibrillary tau inclusions in tau transgenic mice.

    Ishihara T, Zhang B, Higuchi M, Yoshiyama Y, Trojanowski JQ and Lee VM

    Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

    Intraneuronal filamentous tau inclusions such as neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) are neuropathological hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related sporadic and familial tauopathies. NFTs identical to those found in AD brains have also been detected in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex of cognitively normal individuals as they age. To recapitulate age-induced NFT formation in a mouse model, we examined 12- to 24-month-old transgenic (Tg) mice overexpressing the smallest human brain tau isoform. These Tg mice develop congophilic tau inclusions in several brain regions including the hippocampus, amygdala, and entorhinal cortex. NFT-like inclusions were first detected in Tg mice at 18 to 20 months of age and they were detected by histochemical dyes that bind specifically to crossed beta-pleated sheet structures (eg, Congo red, Thioflavin S). Moreover, ultrastructurally these lesions contained straight tau filaments comprised of both mouse and human tau proteins but not other cytoskeletal proteins (eg, neurofilaments, microtubules). Isolated tau filaments were also recovered from detergent-insoluble tau fractions and insoluble tau proteins accumulated in brain in an age-dependent manner. Thus, overexpression of the smallest human brain tau isoform resulted in late onset and age-dependent formation of congophilic tau inclusions with properties similar to those in the tangles of human tauopathies, thereby implicating aging in the pathogenesis of fibrous tau inclusions.

    The American journal of pathology 2001;158;2;555-62

  • Tau filament formation in transgenic mice expressing P301L tau.

    Götz J, Chen F, Barmettler R and Nitsch RM

    Division of Psychiatry Research, University of Zürich, 8008 Zürich, Switzerland. goetz@bli.unizh.ch

    Mutations in the microtubule-associated protein tau, including P301L, are genetically coupled to hereditary frontotemporal dementia with parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17. To determine whether P301L is associated with fibril formation in mice, we expressed the longest human tau isoform, human tau40, with this mutation in transgenic mice by using the neuron-specific mouse Thy1.2 promoter. We obtained mice with high expression of human P301L tau in cortical and hippocampal neurons. Accumulated tau was hyperphosphorylated and translocated from axonal to somatodendritic compartments and was accompanied by astrocytosis and neuronal apoptosis indicated by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated biotinylated dUTP nick end-labeling staining. Moreover, P301L tau formed abnormal filaments. Electron microscopy of sarcosyl-insoluble protein extracts established that the filaments had a straight or twisted structure of variable length and were approximately 15 nm wide. Immunoelcecton microscopy showed that the tau filaments were phosphorylated at the TG3, AT100, AT8, and AD199 epitopes in vivo. In cortex, brain stem, and spinal cord, neurofibrillary tangles were also identified by thioflavin-S fluorescent microscopy and Gallyas silver stains. Together, our results show that expression of the P301L mutation in mice causes neuronal lesions that are similar to those seen in human tauopathies.

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2001;276;1;529-34

  • Neurotrophins are required for nerve growth during development.

    Tucker KL, Meyer M and Barde YA

    Department of Neurobiochemistry, Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, Am Klopferspitz 18a, 82152 Martinsried, Germany.

    Although the requirement of neurotrophins for the prevention of cell death in the peripheral nervous system is well established, their physiological involvement in nerve growth is still unclear. To address this question, we generated a mouse that expresses the green fluorescent protein in post-mitotic neurons, allowing the repeated visualization of all motor and sensory axons during development. We imaged the growth of these axons into the limb bud of day 10.5 embryos. Sensory axons, but rarely motor axons, were targeted to ectopically placed beads containing any of the neurotrophins NGF, BDNF, NT-3 or NT-4/5. Conversely, a combination of function-blocking monoclonal antibodies to NGF, BDNF and NT-3 dramatically inhibited elongation of both sensory and motor axons in the limb bud, indicating that the growth of mixed nerves is dependent upon neurotrophins during development.

    Nature neuroscience 2001;4;1;29-37

  • Glycogen synthase kinase-3beta phosphorylates protein tau and rescues the axonopathy in the central nervous system of human four-repeat tau transgenic mice.

    Spittaels K, Van den Haute C, Van Dorpe J, Geerts H, Mercken M, Bruynseels K, Lasrado R, Vandezande K, Laenen I, Boon T, Van Lint J, Vandenheede J, Moechars D, Loos R and Van Leuven F

    Experimental Genetics Group, Center for Human Genetics, Flemish Institute for Biotechnology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Gasthuisberg O&N 06, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium.

    Protein tau filaments in brain of patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal dementia, and other tauopathies consist of protein tau that is hyperphosphorylated. The responsible kinases operating in vivo in neurons still need to be identified. Here we demonstrate that glycogen synthase kinase-3beta (GSK-3beta) is an effective kinase for protein tau in cerebral neurons in vivo in adult GSK-3beta and GSK-3beta x human tau40 transgenic mice. Phosphorylated protein tau migrates slower during electrophoretic separation and is revealed by phosphorylation-dependent anti-tau antibodies in Western blot analysis. In addition, its capacity to bind to re-assembled paclitaxel (Taxol((R)))-stabilized microtubules is reduced, compared with protein tau isolated from mice not overexpressing GSK-3beta. Co-expression of GSK-3beta reduces the number of axonal dilations and alleviates the motoric impairment that was typical for single htau40 transgenic animals (Spittaels, K., Van den Haute, C., Van Dorpe, J., Bruynseels, K., Vandezande, K., Laenen, I., Geerts, H., Mercken, M., Sciot, R., Van Lommel, A., Loos, R., and Van Leuven, F. (1999) Am. J. Pathol. 155, 2153-2165). Although more hyperphosphorylated protein tau is available, neither an increase in insoluble protein tau aggregates nor the presence of paired helical filaments or tangles was observed. These findings could have therapeutic implications in the field of neurodegeneration, as discussed.

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2000;275;52;41340-9

  • Perinatal lethality of microtubule-associated protein 1B-deficient mice expressing alternative isoforms of the protein at low levels.

    González-Billault C, Demandt E, Wandosell F, Torres M, Bonaldo P, Stoykova A, Chowdhury K, Gruss P, Avila J and Sánchez MP

    Centro de Biología Molecular, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain.

    Microtubule-associated protein 1B (MAP1B) has been implicated in axogenesis in cultured cells. To gain insight into the functions that MAP1B plays in vivo, we analyzed a strain of Map1B mutant mice generated by a gene trapping approach. Homozygous mice die on the first day after birth, probably due to a severe abnormal development of the nervous system. They present alterations in the structure of several brain regions. The normal Map1B gene yields different protein isoforms from alternatively spliced transcripts. The smaller isoforms were present in wild type, hetero-, and homozygous mice, but their expression was higher in the mutants than in the wild-type. Moreover, trace amounts of MAP1B protein were also observed in Map1B homozygous mutants, indicating an alternative splicing around the gene trap insertion. Thus, the Map1B gene trapped mutation reported in this work did not generated a null mutant, but a mouse with a drastic deficiency in MAP1B expression. Analyses of these mice indicate the presence of several neural defects and suggest the participation of MAP1B in neuronal migration.

    Molecular and cellular neurosciences 2000;16;4;408-21

  • Defects in axonal elongation and neuronal migration in mice with disrupted tau and map1b genes.

    Takei Y, Teng J, Harada A and Hirokawa N

    Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.

    Tau and MAP1B are the main members of neuronal microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs), the functions of which have remained obscure because of a putative functional redundancy (Harada, A., K. Oguchi, S. Okabe, J. Kuno, S. Terada, T. Ohshima, R. Sato-Yoshitake, Y. Takei, T. Noda, and N. Hirokawa. 1994. Nature. 369:488-491; Takei, Y., S. Kondo, A. Harada, S. Inomata, T. Noda, and N. Hirokawa. 1997. J. Cell Biol. 137:1615-1626). To unmask the role of these proteins, we generated double-knockout mice with disrupted tau and map1b genes and compared their phenotypes with those of single-knockout mice. In the analysis of mice with a genetic background of predominantly C57Bl/6J, a hypoplastic commissural axon tract and disorganized neuronal layering were observed in the brains of the tau+/+map1b-/- mice. These phenotypes are markedly more severe in tau-/-map1b-/- double mutants, indicating that tau and MAP1B act in a synergistic fashion. Primary cultures of hippocampal neurons from tau-/-map1b-/- mice showed inhibited axonal elongation. In these cells, a generation of new axons via bundling of microtubules at the neck of the growth cones appeared to be disturbed. Cultured cerebellar neurons from tau-/-map1b-/- mice showed delayed neuronal migration concomitant with suppressed neurite elongation. These findings indicate the cooperative functions of tau and MAP1B in vivo in axonal elongation and neuronal migration as regulators of microtubule organization.

    The Journal of cell biology 2000;150;5;989-1000

  • Abnormal polarization and axon outgrowth in retinal ganglion cells lacking the POU-domain transcription factor Brn-3b.

    Wang SW, Gan L, Martin SE and Klein WH

    Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.

    The POU domain transcription factor Brn-3b (also called Brn-3.2) is essential for the normal development of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in the mouse. Without Brn-3b, RGCs commit to their fate and migrate to the ganglion cell layer, but most cells die during fetal development. An earlier report (L. Gan et al., 1999, Dev. Biol. 210, 469-480) suggested that cell death was caused by abnormal axon formation. Here, we use retinal explants from wild-type and mutant embryos to show that brn-3b-deficient RGCs are not properly polarized and tend to form dendrites rather than axons. Compared with wild-type explants, neurites of RGCs from brn-3b-deficient retinal explants grew slower, were shorter, and did not fasciculate properly. Mutant neurites had more microtubules than wild-type controls, and the arrangement of microtubules and neurofilaments was characteristic of dendrites rather than axons. Neurites from individual mutant RGCs displayed abnormal polarity and had dendrite-like branches extending outward from their main axis. Most mutant RGCs exhibited abnormal migratory behavior, and their neurites labeled intensely with the dendrite marker MAP-2. A small number of mutant RGCs were not migratory, and their neurites were longer and labeled positively for the axon marker tau-1, suggesting that some RGCs were not as severely affected by the absence of Brn-3b as others. Although tau-1 was not observed in most mutant neurites, it did accumulate in mutant cell bodies, implying that the absence of Brn-3b caused a defect in axon transport. Thus, Brn-3b appears to control the activity of genes that function in establishing RGC polarity, and without Brn-3b, RGCs cannot extend normal axons.

    Funded by: NCI NIH HHS: CA16672; NEI NIH HHS: EY10608, EY11930

    Molecular and cellular neurosciences 2000;16;2;141-56

  • Neurofibrillary tangles, amyotrophy and progressive motor disturbance in mice expressing mutant (P301L) tau protein.

    Lewis J, McGowan E, Rockwood J, Melrose H, Nacharaju P, Van Slegtenhorst M, Gwinn-Hardy K, Paul Murphy M, Baker M, Yu X, Duff K, Hardy J, Corral A, Lin WL, Yen SH, Dickson DW, Davies P and Hutton M

    Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Florida, USA.

    Neurofibrillary tangles (NFT) composed of the microtubule-associated protein tau are prominent in Alzheimer disease (AD), Pick disease, progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and corticobasal degeneration (CBD). Mutations in the gene (Mtapt) encoding tau protein cause frontotemporal dementia and parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 (FTDP-17), thereby proving that tau dysfunction can directly result in neurodegeneration. Expression of human tau containing the most common FTDP-17 mutation (P301L) results in motor and behavioural deficits in transgenic mice, with age- and gene-dose-dependent development of NFT. This phenotype occurred as early as 6.5 months in hemizygous and 4.5 months in homozygous animals. NFT and Pick-body-like neuronal lesions occurred in the amygdala, septal nuclei, pre-optic nuclei, hypothalamus, midbrain, pons, medulla, deep cerebellar nuclei and spinal cord, with tau-immunoreactive pre-tangles in the cortex, hippocampus and basal ganglia. Areas with the most NFT had reactive gliosis. Spinal cord had axonal spheroids, anterior horn cell loss and axonal degeneration in anterior spinal roots. We also saw peripheral neuropathy and skeletal muscle with neurogenic atrophy. Brain and spinal cord contained insoluble tau that co-migrated with insoluble tau from AD and FTDP-17 brains. The phenotype of mice expressing P301L mutant tau mimics features of human tauopathies and provides a model for investigating the pathogenesis of diseases with NFT.

    Funded by: PHS HHS: P01, R01

    Nature genetics 2000;25;4;402-5

  • Determinants of 4-repeat tau expression. Coordination between enhancing and inhibitory splicing sequences for exon 10 inclusion.

    D'Souza I and Schellenberg GD

    Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center, Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle Division, Seattle, Washington 98108, USA.

    Mutations in the tau gene are pathogenic causing autosomal dominant frontotemporal dementia with Parkinsonism-chromosome 17 type (FTDP-17). Some mutations in tau exon 10 (E10) and immediately adjacent sequences cause disease by altering E10 splicing. To determine the mechanism of normal E10 splicing regulation and how FTDP-17 mutations alter splicing, mutational analysis of E10 was performed. The results show that E10 contains a complex array of both enhancer and inhibitor cis-acting elements that modulate usage of a weak 5' splice site. The 5' end of E10 contains a previously unrecognized multipartite exon splicing enhancer (ESE) composed of an SC35-like binding sequence, a purine-rich sequence, and an AC-rich element. Downstream of this ESE is a purine-rich exon splicing inhibitor. Intronic sequences immediately downstream of E10 also are inhibitory. The results support an alternative model in which I10 inhibitory sequences appear to function as a linear sequence. The cis-elements described are not redundant, and all appear required for normal E10 splicing. Results with double mutations demonstrate that the ESE and the intronic inhibitory element collaborate to regulate splicing. Thus splicing of tau E10 is regulated by a complex set of cis-acting elements that span nearly the entire exon and also include intronic sequences.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: R01 AG11762

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2000;275;23;17700-9

  • Axonopathy and amyotrophy in mice transgenic for human four-repeat tau protein.

    Probst A, Götz J, Wiederhold KH, Tolnay M, Mistl C, Jaton AL, Hong M, Ishihara T, Lee VM, Trojanowski JQ, Jakes R, Crowther RA, Spillantini MG, Bürki K and Goedert M

    Abteilung Neuropathologie, Institut für Pathologie, Universität Basel, Switzerland.

    Coding region and intronic mutations in the tau gene cause frontotemporal dementia and parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17. Some of these mutations lead to an overproduction of tau isoforms with four microtubule-binding repeats. Here we have expressed the longest four-repeat human brain tau isoform in transgenic mice under the control of the murine Thy1 promoter. Transgenic mice aged 3 weeks to 25 months overexpressed human tau protein in nerve cells of brain and spinal cord. Numerous abnormal, tau-immunoreactive nerve cell bodies and dendrites were seen. In addition, large numbers of pathologically enlarged axons containing neurofilament- and tau-immunoreactive spheroids were present, especially in spinal cord. Signs of Wallerian degeneration and neurogenic muscle atrophy were observed. When motor function was tested, transgenic mice showed signs of muscle weakness. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that overexpression of human four-repeat tau leads to a central and peripheral axonopathy that results in nerve cell dysfunction and amyotrophy.

    Acta neuropathologica 2000;99;5;469-81

  • Muscle weakness, hyperactivity, and impairment in fear conditioning in tau-deficient mice.

    Ikegami S, Harada A and Hirokawa N

    Mitsubishi Kasei Institute of Life Sciences, Tokyo, Japan.

    Tau, one of the major neuronal microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs), is important for neuronal cell morphogenesis and axonal maintenance. Tau is also known to be a component of the paired helical filaments (PHFs) in Alzheimer's disease patients. Recently, mutations in the tau gene were found in a hereditary neurodegenerative disease called frontotemporal dementia and parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 (FTDP-17) which exhibits various neurological and neuropathological characteristics including PHF-like intracellular tau deposit formation. Currently, the phenotype of the disease is thought to be due to: (1) the toxicity of mutant tau molecules and and/or; (2) the loss of function of normal tau molecules in patients' brains. To test the latter hypothesis, we performed behavioral and neurological tests on tau-deficient mice. Tau-deficient mice showed muscle weakness in the wire-hanging test, hyperactivity in a novel environment, and impairment in the contextual fear conditioning. They also had a tendency to fall more easily in the rod-walking test. These phenotypes parallel some signs and symptoms of FTDP-17 patients. Our results show that the loss of tau protein may itself lead to some of the neurological characteristics observed in FTDP-17 patients.

    Neuroscience letters 2000;279;3;129-32

  • Prominent axonopathy in the brain and spinal cord of transgenic mice overexpressing four-repeat human tau protein.

    Spittaels K, Van den Haute C, Van Dorpe J, Bruynseels K, Vandezande K, Laenen I, Geerts H, Mercken M, Sciot R, Van Lommel A, Loos R and Van Leuven F

    Experimental Genetics Group, Center for Human Genetics, Flemish Institute for Biotechnology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.

    Mutations in the human tau gene cause frontotemporal dementia and parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17. Some mutations, including mutations in intron 10, induce increased levels of the functionally normal four-repeat tau protein isoform, leading to neurodegeneration. We generated transgenic mice that overexpress the four-repeat human tau protein isoform specifically in neurons. The transgenic mice developed axonal degeneration in brain and spinal cord. In the model, axonal dilations with accumulation of neurofilaments, mitochondria, and vesicles were documented. The axonopathy and the accompanying dysfunctional sensorimotor capacities were transgene-dosage related. These findings proved that merely increasing the concentration of the four-repeat tau protein isoform is sufficient to injure neurons in the central nervous system, without formation of intraneuronal neurofibrillary tangles. Evidence for astrogliosis and ubiquitination of accumulated proteins in the dilated part of the axon supported this conclusion. This transgenic model, overexpressing the longest isoform of human tau protein, recapitulates features of known neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease and other tauopathies. The model makes it possible to study the interaction with additional factors, to be incorporated genetically, or with other biological triggers that are implicated in neurodegeneration.

    The American journal of pathology 1999;155;6;2153-65

  • Neurodegenerative tauopathies: human disease and transgenic mouse models.

    Lee VM and Trojanowski JQ

    Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia 19104, USA. vmylee@mail.med.upenn.edu

    Neuron 1999;24;3;507-10

  • Role of Pax6 in development of the cerebellar system.

    Engelkamp D, Rashbass P, Seawright A and van Heyningen V

    MRC Human Genetics Unit, Western General Hospital, Crewe Road, Edinburgh, EH4 2XU, Scotland.

    Post-mitotic neurons generated at the rhombic lip undertake long distance migration to widely dispersed destinations, giving rise to cerebellar granule cells and the precerebellar nuclei. Here we show that Pax6, a key regulator in CNS and eye development, is strongly expressed in rhombic lip and in cells migrating away from it. Development of some structures derived from these cells is severely affected in Pax6-null Small eye (Pax6(Sey)/Pax6(Sey)) embryos. Cell proliferation and initial differentiation seem unaffected, but cell migration and neurite extension are disrupted in mutant embryos. Three of the five precerebellar nuclei fail to form correctly. In the cerebellum the pre-migratory granule cell sub-layer and fissures are absent. Some granule cells are found in ectopic positions in the inferior colliculus which may result from the complete absence of Unc5h3 expression in Pax6(Sey)/Pax6(Sey) granule cells. Our results suggest that Pax6 plays a strong role during hindbrain migration processes and at least part of its activity is mediated through regulation of the netrin receptor Unc5h3.

    Funded by: Medical Research Council: MC_U127527199; Wellcome Trust

    Development (Cambridge, England) 1999;126;16;3585-96

  • Assembly of paired helical filaments from mouse tau: implications for the neurofibrillary pathology in transgenic mouse models for Alzheimer's disease.

    Kampers T, Pangalos M, Geerts H, Wiech H and Mandelkow E

    Max-Planck-Unit for Structural Molecular Biology, Hamburg, Germany.

    In Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, human tau protein aggregates into paired helical filaments and neurofibrillary tangles. However, such tau aggregates have not yet been demonstrated in transgenic mouse models of the disease. One of the possible explanations would be that mouse tau has different properties which prevents it from aggregating. We have cloned several murine tau isoforms, containing three or four repeats and different combinations of inserts, expressed them in Escherichia coli and show here that they can all be assembled into paired helical filaments similar to those in Alzheimer's disease, using the same protocols as with human tau. Therefore, the absence of pathologically aggregated tau in transgenic mice cannot be explained by intrinsic differences in mouse tau protein and instead must be explained by other as yet unknown factors.

    FEBS letters 1999;451;1;39-44

  • The tauopathies: toward an experimental animal model.

    Goedert M and Hasegawa M

    Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, United Kingdom. mg@mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk

    The American journal of pathology 1999;154;1;1-6

  • Transgenic expression of the shortest human tau affects its compartmentalization and its phosphorylation as in the pretangle stage of Alzheimer's disease.

    Brion JP, Tremp G and Octave JN

    Laboratory of Pathology and Electron Microscopy, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium.

    We have generated transgenic mice expressing the shortest human tau protein, the microtubule-associated protein that composes paired helical filaments in Alzheimer's disease. Transgenic tau transcripts and proteins were strongly expressed in neurons in the developing and adult brain. In contrast to the endogenous tau that progressively disappeared from neuronal cell bodies during development, the human transgenic tau remained abundant in cell bodies and dendrites of a subset of neurons in the adult. This somatodendritic transgenic tau was immunoreactive with antibodies to tau phosphorylated on Thr181 and Thr231 and with the conformation-dependent Alz50 antibody. A few astrocytes expressing the transgenic tau were strongly immunoreactive with antibodies to additional tau phosphorylation sites, ie, at Ser262/ 356 and Ser396/404. All of these phosphorylation sites have been identified in paired helical filaments-tau proteins. In electron microscopy, the transgenic tau was detected into microtubules in axons and in dendrites but not in cell bodies. Neurofibrillary tangles were not detected in transgenic animals examined up to the age of 19 months. These results indicate that transgenic manipulation of tau expression and intracellular targeting is sufficient per se to affect tau compartmentalization, phosphorylation, and conformation partly as it is observed at the pretangle stage in Alzheimer's disease.

    The American journal of pathology 1999;154;1;255-70

  • Embryonic expression of the myelin basic protein gene: identification of a promoter region that targets transgene expression to pioneer neurons.

    Landry CF, Pribyl TM, Ellison JA, Givogri MI, Kampf K, Campagnoni CW and Campagnoni AT

    Developmental Biology Group, Neuropsychiatric Institute, University of California at Los Angeles, School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California 90024, USA.

    The myelin basic protein (MBP) gene produces two families of structurally related proteins from three different promoters-the golli products, generated from the most upstream promoter, and the MBPs, produced from the two downstream promoters. In this report we describe the expression of golli proteins within some of the earliest neuronal populations of the brain, including Cajal-Retzius cells and preplate neurons of the forebrain, representing a new marker for these cells. To identify elements responsible for neuronal expression of the golli products, we generated transgenic animals from constructs containing different portions of the upstream promoter. A construct containing 1.1 kb immediately upstream of the golli transcription start site targeted expression of beta-galactosidase to preplate neurons and a subset of Cajal-Retzius cells in transgenic mice-the first reported genetic element to target expression to these pioneer cortical populations. Although expression in Cajal-Retzius cells declined with embryonic development, preplate cells continued to express the transgene after arriving at their final destination in the subplate. Interestingly, expression persisted in subplate neurons found within a distinct layer between the white matter and cortical layer VI well into postnatal life. Birth dating studies with bromodeoxyuridine indicated that these neurons were born between E10.5 and E12.5. Thus, the transgene marked subplate neurons from their birth, providing a fate marker for these cells. This work suggests a role for the MBP gene in the early developing brain long before myelination and especially in the pioneer cortical neurons important in the formation of the cortical layers.

    Funded by: NINDS NIH HHS: NS23022, NS33091

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 1998;18;18;7315-27

  • Overexpression of the mouse dishevelled-1 protein inhibits GSK-3beta-mediated phosphorylation of tau in transfected mammalian cells.

    Wagner U, Brownlees J, Irving NG, Lucas FR, Salinas PC and Miller CC

    Department of Neuroscience, The Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK.

    Tau is a neuronal microtubule-associated protein whose function is modulated by phosphorylation. GSK-3beta is a tau kinase. GSK-3beta is part of the wingless signalling pathway and stimulation by wingless is predicted to down-regulate GSK-3beta activity. In Drosophila imaginal disc cells, overexpression of dishevelled, a component of the wingless pathway, mimics the wingless signal. We have therefore studied the effect that overexpression of the murine dishevelled-1 protein has on GSK-3beta-mediated phosphorylation of tau in transfected CHO cells. We find that co-transfection with dishevelled-1 is inhibitory to GSK-3beta-mediated tau phosphorylation. Tau is hyperphosphorylated in Alzheimer's disease and the possible relevance of these findings to Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis are discussed.

    Funded by: Wellcome Trust

    FEBS letters 1997;411;2-3;369-72

  • Molecular evolution of tau protein: implications for Alzheimer's disease.

    Nelson PT, Stefansson K, Gulcher J and Saper CB

    Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.

    The brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease contain deposits of hyperphosphorylated tau proteins that have polymerized into insoluble fibrils. These deposits, in neurofibrillary tangles and dystrophic neurites, correlate with loss of cells and synapses, and consequently with dementia. Neurofibrillary pathology occurs in humans, as well as certain ungulates, including goats, sheep, and cows, but not in nonhuman primates. We hypothesize that the differences among species in the propensity to develop neurofibrillary pathology may be attributable to variations in the amino acid sequence of tau proteins. To investigate this hypothesis, we sequenced tau-encoding mRNA transcripts from the brains of rhesus monkey and domesticated goat and compared them with the known sequences of tau mRNAs from humans. The major difference we observed was that some tau mRNAs from rhesus monkey neocortex contain exon 8, whereas this exon has not been found in cortical tau from human or goat. Cows express very low levels of exon 8, and they tend to develop sparse neurofibrillary pathology with aging. We also found a transcribed tau-related pseudogene in rhesus monkey, which may be present in humans. We propose that differences in the expression of tau and tau-related protein sequences may underlie the predilection of human but not monkey brains to develop neurofibrillary degeneration.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: AG 12856

    Journal of neurochemistry 1996;67;4;1622-32

  • OTX2 homeoprotein in the developing central nervous system and migratory cells of the olfactory area.

    Mallamaci A, Di Blas E, Briata P, Boncinelli E and Corte G

    DIBIT, Istituto Scientifico H.S. Raffaele, Milano, Italy.

    We analyzed the distribution of OTX2 during mouse development. OTX2 is a homeoprotein encoded by Otx2, a vertebrate homeobox gene expressed in the developing brain and anterior head regions. The protein is already detectable in pre-streak embryos, in nuclei of embryonic ectoderm or epiblast and primitive endoderm or hypoblast. Its distribution is uniform along the entire epiblast, while showing an antero-posterior gradient along the hypoblast at the time when primitive streak first forms. Between embryonic day 7 (E7) and E7.5 there is a progressive confinement of the protein to the anterior ectoderm corresponding to the forming headfold. At E7.5-E7.8, the protein is mainly confined in this region but is still present, though at lower level, in more posterior ectoderm. Starting from day 8 of development it is essentially confined to anterior neuroectoderm corresponding to presumptive fore- and midbrain. Its subsequent distribution in forebrain, midbrain, developing isthmo-cerebellum and posterior central nervous system is analyzed in detail. Of particular interest is the presence of OTX2 in nuclei of cells of the olfactory system starting from its origin in the olfactory placode. OTX2 protein is present in some cells of the olfactory epithelium, in both the major olfactory epithelium and the vomero-nasal organ, and in scattered migratory cells present in the mesenchyme outside it. These cells surround the axon bundles of the olfactory nerve along its path from the olfactory epithelium in the nasal cavities to the olfactory bulb in rostral telencephalon and include both ensheathing glial cells and luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH)-positive cells.

    Funded by: Telethon: E.0450

    Mechanisms of development 1996;58;1-2;165-78

  • Molecular diversity at the carboxyl terminus of human and rat tau.

    Sawa A, Oyama F, Matsushita M and Ihara Y

    Department of Neuropathology, University of Tokyo, Japan.

    Although a long terminal isoform of tau was historically the first identified clone, no such isform has been thus far reported among species other than mouse. We show here that there are homologues of the long terminal isoform in human and rat, but in various forms in contrast to mouse. There are generated by a combination of multiple splice sites, which causes distinct molecular diversity at the carboxyl terminus of human and rat tau.

    Brain research. Molecular brain research 1994;27;1;111-7

  • Expression of three- and four-repeat tau isoforms in mouse liver.

    Kenner L, el-Shabrawi Y, Hutter H, Forstner M, Zatloukal K, Hoefler G, Preisegger KH, Kurzbauer R and Denk H

    Institute of Pathology, University of Graz School of Medicine, Austria.

    Tau protein is a member of the family of microtubule-associated proteins, which support microtubule polymerization and stability. Under pathological conditions, tau is a major constituent of neurofibrillary tangles in nerve cells of patients with Alzheimer's disease. Neurofibrillary tangles share some morphological, biochemical and immunological properties with cytoplasmic inclusions associated with other diseases, such as Mallory bodies in the livers of patients with alcoholic hepatitis and in corresponding mouse models. Recently a Mallory body component was identified that in molecular mass and isoelectric point resembles the abnormally phosphorylated tau of neurofibrillary tangles. There has been, however, so far no report describing the occurrence of tau in normal liver. We now demonstrate the expression of two tau isoforms containing three and four repeats, respectively, of the microtubule-binding domains in normal mouse liver and kidney. This finding provides evidence for a physiological role of tau in the liver and, consequently, the basis for the involvement of tau in pathological situations.

    Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) 1994;20;4 Pt 1;1086-9

  • Altered microtubule organization in small-calibre axons of mice lacking tau protein.

    Harada A, Oguchi K, Okabe S, Kuno J, Terada S, Ohshima T, Sato-Yoshitake R, Takei Y, Noda T and Hirokawa N

    Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Japan.

    The tau gene encodes a protein (Tau) that is a major neuronal microtubule-associated protein localized mostly in axons. It has microtubule-binding and tubulin-polymerizing activity in vitro and is thought to make short crossbridges between axonal microtubules. Further, tau-transfected non-neuronal cells extend long axon-like processes in which microtubule bundles resembling those in axons are formed. In contrast, tau antisense oligonucleotides selectively suppress axonal elongation in cultured neurons. Thus tau is thought to be essential for neuronal cell morphogenesis, especially axonal elongation and maintenance. To test this hypothesis, we used gene targeting to produce mice lacking the tau gene. We show that the nervous system of tau-deficient mice appears to be normal immunohistologically. Furthermore, axonal elongation is not affected in cultured neurons. But in some small-calibre axons, microtubule stability is decreased and microtubule organization is significantly changed. We observed an increase in microtubule-associated protein 1A which may compensate for the functions of tau in large-calibre axons. Our results argue against the suggested role of tau in axonal elongation but confirm that it is crucial in the stabilization and organization of axonal microtubules in a certain type of axon.

    Nature 1994;369;6480;488-91

  • High and low molecular weight tau proteins are differentially expressed from a single gene.

    Mavilia C, Couchie D, Mattei MG, Nivez MP and Nunez J

    Unité INSERM 282-CNRS, Hôpital Henri Mondor, Créteil, France.

    Both high and low molecular weight (HMW and LMW) tau proteins are expressed in the immature and adult mouse spinal cord. Northern blot analysis, performed with probes complementary to domains common and uncommon to the LMW and HMW entities, suggested that HMW tau proteins found in the immature mouse spinal cord are not translated from the single transcript of 6 kb expressed at these stages, but are transported within this nervous structure by axons arising in the periphery. In contrast, another minor transcript of 8 kb was detected in the adult mouse spinal cord by a HMW tau specific probe, suggesting that a small fraction of the HMW tau forms present in adulthood are translated within mouse spinal cord neurons. LMW spinal cord tau forms are encoded by mRNAs of 6 kb that contain three and four homologous repeats at immature and mature stages, respectively, whereas adult HMW entities contain four repeats. PCR analysis performed with mouse genomic DNA also showed that the nonhomologous region specific for HMW tau is a single exon. Southern blot and gene mapping showed that the same gene, located on the murine chromosome 11, encodes all the LMW and HMW tau variants. All these tau forms, therefore, are produced by an alternative splicing mechanism that is neuron-specific and developmentally regulated.

    Journal of neurochemistry 1993;61;3;1073-81

  • [High molecular weight tau proteins and acquisition of neuronal polarity in peripheral nervous system].

    Couchie D, Gache Y, Mavilia C, Guilleminot J, Bridoux AM, Nivez MP and Nunez J

    Unité INSERM U 282-CNRS, Hôpital Henri-Mondor, Créteil, France.

    Several variants of the microtubule-associated tau proteins, are expressed during brain development and in adulthood. These entities are required to define the polarity of the neuron and the architecture of the axon but differ in sequence and in their microtubule polymerizing activity. Here, we describe a new group of high molecular weight tau proteins that contain one or two additional exons of 711 and 198 bp in their middle region and a variable N-terminal domain. These high molecular weight tau variants are preferentially expressed in the peripheral nervous system. Immunohistochemical studies showed that they are also present in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord where they are probably transported by sensory fibers arising in the periphery. However, a minor fraction of these proteins is present in the motor neurons of the ventral horn. Similar studies were performed with the neuroblastoma N115 cell line which can be differentiated in vitro and expresses only high molecular weight tau forms. In the non differentiated cells, tau antibodies label the domain of the cell body localized around the centrosome whereas, after differentiation, the cell process facing this structure is also stained. These data suggest that axonal polarity is predetermined by the localization of tau proteins in the domain of the cell body defined by the centrosome.

    Comptes rendus de l'Académie des sciences. Série III, Sciences de la vie 1993;316;4;404-9

  • Regulation of tubulin, Tau and microtubule associated protein 2 expression during mouse brain development.

    Charrière-Bertrand C and Nunez J

    INSERM U 282, Hôpital Henri Mondor, Crétail, France.

    The level of three microtubule proteins, tubulin, Tau and MAP2 and of their encoding mRNA was studied in the mouse brain at an early developmental stage (3 days postnatal) and in adulthood. The level of the mRNA encoding both tubulin and Tau decreased by 85% between these two stages whereas the encoded proteins decreased only by 50% during the same period. Thus, the level of these proteins seems to be regulated both negatively and positively by transcriptional and post translational mechanisms. In vitro transcription assays, performed with nuclei isolated at different postnatal stages, showed that the tubulin and Tau transcripts are produced with some variations during mouse brain development. However these fluctuations are much less important than the drops of the steady state levels of tubulin and Tau mRNA seen in vivo. Thus, the decrease in transcripts levels does not seem to result from reduced transcriptional activities, and can be ascribed to changes in mRNA stability occurring during brain development, i.e. to a post transcriptional mechanism. The situation is even more complex for MAP2: its encoding mRNA level remains constant during development whereas the in vitro transcription activity decreases markedly during the same period. Finally, MAP2 protein level increases during development although its encoding mRNA level remains constant suggesting that this protein is stabilized by a post translational mechanism.

    Neurochemistry international 1992;21;4;535-41

  • Heterogeneity of Tau proteins during mouse brain development and differentiation of cultured neurons.

    Larcher JC, Boucher D, Ginzburg I, Gros F and Denoulet P

    Laboratoire de Biochimie Cellulaire, Collège de France, Paris, France.

    Tau microtubule-associated proteins constitute a group of developmentally regulated neuronal proteins. Using the high-resolution two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis system, we have resolved more than 60 distinct Tau isoforms in the adult mouse brain. Tau protein heterogeneity increases drastically during the second week of brain development. In neuronal primary cell cultures, some of these developmental changes can be observed. The increase of Tau heterogeneity in culture is more limited and reaches a plateau after a period corresponding to the second week of development. Most, if not all, of the vast Tau heterogeneity can be attributed to intensive post-translational phosphorylation, which may affect the structure of the proteins.

    Developmental biology 1992;154;1;195-204

  • Primary structure of high molecular weight tau present in the peripheral nervous system.

    Couchie D, Mavilia C, Georgieff IS, Liem RK, Shelanski ML and Nunez J

    Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale U282-Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Unité Associée, Hôpital Henri Mondor, Créteil, France.

    The tau proteins are a family of brain microtubule binding proteins that are required during axonal outgrowth and are found in neurofibrillary tangles in Alzheimer disease. A protein of higher molecular weight, immunologically related to tau, is expressed in the adult peripheral system and in cultured neuronal cell lines of neural crest origin. The predicted amino acid sequence of the high molecular weight tau from N115 cells has been determined from the sequence of its 2340-base-pair cDNA. High molecular weight tau contains an open reading frame encoding 733 amino acid residues. It contains sequences homologous to those present in the N-, middle, and C-terminal domains of adult brain tau proteins, including four homologous repeats, which are the tubulin binding sites, and an amino acid stretch, which is present only in the N-terminal domain of the mature brain variants. The middle region contains a previously unidentified nonhomologous stretch of 237 amino acid residues as well as a domain of 66 residues homologous to exon 6 of the bovine gene that is absent in all bovine, rat, and mouse tau cDNAs sequenced so far. A cDNA probe specific to the nonhomologous tau insert hybridizes to the 8- to 9-kilobase tau mRNA in N115 cells but not to the 6-kilobase tau mRNA in brain. Probes for the domains common to brain tau isoforms hybridize to both messages. The sequence of high molecular weight tau protein also suggests that it, like low molecular weight tau, is an elongated hydrophilic molecule. This cDNA should allow us to study the role of the domains specific to these tau forms in the specialization of the peripheral nervous system and for study of their expression in normal and pathological states.

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 1992;89;10;4378-81

  • Dendritic and axonal distribution of the microtubule-associated proteins MAP2 and tau in the cerebellum of the nervous mutant mouse.

    Brion JP, Guilleminot J and Nunez J

    Laboratoire d'Anatomie Pathologique, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium.

    The fate of the different types of axons and dendrites in the nervous mutant mouse has been studied with antibodies raised against the two major microtubule-associated proteins, MAP2 and tau. These proteins are specific markers of dendrites and axons, respectively. (1) Immunoblot analysis of cerebellar extracts showed that MAP2 concentration is markedly reduced (by approximately 90%) in the adult mutant. A 60% decrease was already noticed at day 20 postnatal, i.e., when all the Purkinje cells are present in their normal location and in apparent normal number. (2) Immunohistochemical studies performed at an adult stage with anti MAP2 antibodies showed marked alterations in the shape of the dendrites of the rare surviving Purkinje cells present in the lateral sections of the cerebellum of the mutant. In the vermis, where 50% of the cells survive in adulthood, the MAP2 antibody revealed both clusters of cells with a normal density and an intricated and extensive pattern of dendritic arborization and isolated cells showing either an apparently normal or an altered dendritic tree. (3) At day 20 postnatal the same antibody revealed, in the lateral sections severe abnormalities of the dendrites of the Purkinje cells which were different from those seen in adulthood in the vermis. Thus, although few or any Purkinje cells are dead at this stage, a large proportion of them have already profound dendritic alterations. In contrast, in the vermis the Purkinje cells and their dendritic tree are undistinguishable at this stage from those of the unaffected normal mice. (4) Immunoblot and immunohistochemical studies performed with the anti Tau antibody suggested that the majority of the axonal fibers of the cerebellum were present both at day 20 postnatal and at later adult stages. This suggests that, although deprived of their postsynaptic targets these axons can survive for a long time after Purkinje cell death. However, an anti-neurofilament monoclonal antibody which stains specifically the axons of the basket cells, revealed an altered morphology of the basket cell nest in the regions devoid of Purkinje cells. (5) In conclusion the alterations in the morphology of dendrites seem to represent an early event of Purkinje cell degeneration and to be correlated with a marked decrease in expression of MAP2. It remains unclear, however, whether such changes in expression of MAP2 represent a primary effect of the mutation or if it is only a precocious result of Purkinje cell degeneration.

    Brain research. Developmental brain research 1988;44;2;221-32

  • The primary structure and heterogeneity of tau protein from mouse brain.

    Lee G, Cowan N and Kirschner M

    Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115.

    Tau protein is a family of microtubule binding proteins, heterogeneous in molecular weight, that are induced during neurite outgrowth and are found prominently in neurofibrillary tangles in Alzheimer's disease. The predicted amino acid sequences of two forms of tau protein from mouse brain were determined from complementary DNA clones. These forms are identical in their amino-terminal sequences but differ in their carboxyl-terminal domains. Both proteins contain repeated sequences that may be tubulin binding sites. The sequence suggests that tau is an elongated molecule with no extensive alpha-helical or beta-sheet domains. These complementary DNAs should enable the study of various functional domains of tau and the study of tau expression in normal and pathological states.

    Funded by: NIGMS NIH HHS: GM32099

    Science (New York, N.Y.) 1988;239;4837;285-8

  • Studies on the expression of the microtubule-associated protein, tau, during mouse brain development, with newly isolated complementary DNA probes.

    Drubin DG, Caput D and Kirschner MW

    Tau protein is a collection of closely related polypeptides that associate with microtubules in vivo and stimulate their assembly in vitro. Using an affinity-purified antiserum against bovine brain tau protein, we found that the number and amount of tau polypeptides changes dramatically during mouse brain development. The different forms appear to result from changes in tau mRNA since in vitro translation products reflect the qualitative and quantitative changes found in vivo. To study the mRNA and genomic complexity of tau protein, we used tau mRNA, purified from polysomes with tau antiserum, to isolate embryonic mouse tau complementary DNA clones. With these probes we have determined that embryonic tau protein is translated from a 6-kb mRNA that persists throughout brain development.

    The Journal of cell biology 1984;98;3;1090-7

Gene lists (8)

Gene List Source Species Name Description Gene count
L00000001 G2C Mus musculus Mouse PSD Mouse PSD adapted from Collins et al (2006) 1080
L00000003 G2C Mus musculus Mouse clathrin Mouse clathrin coated vesicle genes adapted from Collins et al (2006) 150
L00000004 G2C Mus musculus Mouse Synaptosome Mouse Synaptosome adapted from Collins et al (2006) 152
L00000008 G2C Mus musculus Mouse PSP Mouse PSP adapted from Collins et al (2006) 1121
L00000060 G2C Mus musculus BAYES-COLLINS-HUMAN-PSD-CONSENSUS Human cortex PSD consensus (ortho) 748
L00000062 G2C Mus musculus BAYES-COLLINS-MOUSE-PSD-CONSENSUS Mouse cortex PSD consensus 984
L00000070 G2C Mus musculus BAYES-COLLINS-HUMAN-PSD-FULL Human cortex biopsy PSD full list (ortho) 1461
L00000072 G2C Mus musculus BAYES-COLLINS-MOUSE-PSD-FULL Mouse cortex PSD full list 1556
© G2C 2014. The Genes to Cognition Programme received funding from The Wellcome Trust and the EU FP7 Framework Programmes:
EUROSPIN (FP7-HEALTH-241498), SynSys (FP7-HEALTH-242167) and GENCODYS (FP7-HEALTH-241995).

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