The results published by Diane Hanger and her colleagues in EMBO reports show that treatment of neurons with known biological signaling molecules increases the release of tau into the culture medium. The release of tau from cortical neurons is therefore a physiological process that can be regulated by neuronal activity.
Tau proteins stabilize microtubules, the long threads of polymers that help to maintain the structure of the cell. However, in Alzheimer’s disease or certain types of dementia, tau accumulates in neurons or glial cells, where it contributes to neurodegeneration.
In addition to intracellular aggregation, recent experiments have shown that tau is released from neuronal cells and taken up by neighboring cells, which allows the spread of aggregated tau across the brain. This release could occur passively from dying neuronal cells, though some evidence suggests it might take place before neuronal cell death and neurodegeneration. The new findings indicate that tau release is an active process in healthy neurons and this could be altered in diseased brains.
“Our findings suggest that altered tau release is likely to occur in response to changes in neuronal excitability in the Alzheimer’s brain. Secreted tau could therefore be involved in the propagation of tau pathology in tauopathies, a group of neurodegenerative diseases associated with the accumulation of tau proteins in the brain,” commented Diane Hanger, Reader in the Department of Neuroscience at King’s College London. In these experiments, Amy Pooler, the lead author, revealed that molecules such as potassium chloride, glutamate or an AMPA receptor agonist could release tau from cortical neurons in an active physiological process that is, at least partially, dependent on pre-synaptic vesicle secretion.
The new findings by the scientists indicate that tau has previously unknown roles in biological signaling between cells, in addition to its well-established role in stabilizing microtubules.
“We believe that targeting the release of tau could be explored as a new therapeutic approach for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and related tauopathies,” said Hanger. Additional studies are needed in model organisms to test this hypothesis further.
Physiological release of endogenous tau is stimulated by neuronal activity
Amy M Pooler, Emma C Phillips, Dawn HW Lau, Wendy Noble, Diane P HangerRead the paper:
EMBO helps young scientists to advance their research, promote their interna-tional reputations and ensure their mobility. Courses, workshops, conferences and scientific journals disseminate the latest research and offer training in techniques to maintain high standards of excellence in research practice. EMBO helps to shape science and research policy by seeking input and feedback from our community and by following closely the trends in science in Europe.
Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”
05.12.2016 | Universität Basel
The Nagoya Protocol Creates Disadvantages for Many Countries when Applied to Microorganisms
05.12.2016 | Leibniz-Institut DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
05.12.2016 | Earth Sciences
05.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
05.12.2016 | Life Sciences