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Tau Truncation is a Productive Posttranslational Modification of Neurofibrillary Degeneration in Alzheimer's Disease

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Deposits of the misfolded neuronal protein tau are major hallmarks of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other tauopathies. The etiology of the transformation process of the intrinsically disordered soluble protein tau into the insoluble misordered aggregate has attracted much attention. Tau undergoes multiple modifications in AD, most notably hyperphosphorylation and truncation. Hyperphosphorylation is widely regarded as the hottest candidate for the inducer of the neurofibrillary pathology. However, the true nature of the impetus that initiates the whole process in the human brains remains unknown. In AD, several site-specific tau cleavages were identified and became connected to the progression of the disease. In addition, western blot analyses of tau species in AD brains reveal multitudes of various truncated forms. In this review we summarize evidence showing that tau truncation alone is sufficient to induce the complete cascade of neurofibrillary pathology, including hyperphosphorylation and accumulation of misfolded insoluble forms of tau. Therefore, proteolytical abnormalities in the stressed neurons and production of aberrant tau cleavage products deserve closer attention and should be considered as early therapeutic targets for Alzheimer's disease.

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Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Alzheimer's disease (AD); C-terminal; DNA fragmentation; N-acetylglucosamine; Parkinsonism; Tau truncation; apoptotic cells; blood brain barrier (BBB); bradykinesia; dystrophic neurites; frontotemporal dementia; glutamic acid; glycation; glycosylation; hyperphosphorylation; immunohistochemical; neurofibrillary degeneration; neuronal proteins,amyloid; oxidative stress; paired helical filaments (PHFs); pseudophosphorylation; subiculum; tau transition; tauopathies

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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  • Current Alzheimer Research publishes peer-reviewed frontier review and research articles on all areas of Alzheimer's disease. This multidisciplinary journal will help in understanding the neurobiology, genetics, pathogenesis, and treatment strategies of Alzheimer's disease. The journal publishes objective reviews written by experts and leaders actively engaged in research using cellular, molecular, and animal models. The journal also covers original articles on recent research in fast emerging areas of molecular diagnostics, brain imaging, drug development and discovery, and clinical aspects of Alzheimer's disease. Manuscripts are encouraged that relate to the synergistic mechanism of Alzheimer's disease with other dementia and neurodegenerative disorders. Book reviews, meeting reports and letters-to-the-editor are also published. The journal is essential reading for researchers, educators and physicians with interest in age-related dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Current Alzheimer Research provides a comprehensive 'bird's-eye view' of the current state of Alzheimer's research for neuroscientists, clinicians, health science planners, granting, caregivers and families of this devastating disease.
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