P301S mutant human tau transgenic mice manifest early symptoms of human tauopathies with dementia and altered sensorimotor gating.
ABSTRACT: Tauopathies are neurodegenerative disorders characterized by the accumulation of abnormal tau protein leading to cognitive and/or motor dysfunction. To understand the relationship between tau pathology and behavioral impairments, we comprehensively assessed behavioral abnormalities in a mouse tauopathy model expressing the human P301S mutant tau protein in the early stage of disease to detect its initial neurological manifestations. Behavioral abnormalities, shown by open field test, elevated plus-maze test, hot plate test, Y-maze test, Barnes maze test, Morris water maze test, and/or contextual fear conditioning test, recapitulated the neurological deficits of human tauopathies with dementia. Furthermore, we discovered that prepulse inhibition (PPI), a marker of sensorimotor gating, was enhanced in these animals concomitantly with initial neuropathological changes in associated brain regions. This finding provides evidence that our tauopathy mouse model displays neurofunctional abnormalities in prodromal stages of disease, since enhancement of PPI is characteristic of amnestic mild cognitive impairment, a transitional stage between normal aging and dementia such as Alzheimer's disease (AD), in contrast with attenuated PPI in AD patients. Therefore, assessment of sensorimotor gating could be used to detect the earliest manifestations of tauopathies exemplified by prodromal AD, in which abnormal tau protein may play critical roles in the onset of neuronal dysfunctions.
Project description:Tau protein aggregates are found in a variety of neurodegenerative diseases known as tauopathies. Emerging evidence shows tau can propagate from cell-to-cell by seeding endogenous tau to aggregate. Studies in tau transgenic mice showed intracerebrally injecting misfolded tau seeds initiates and transmits tau pathology across the mouse brain. However, transgenic mice that overexpress human tau with disease-associated mutations do not fully recapitulate sporadic tauopathies. Here, we present our method for developing a sporadic tauopathy model using pathological tau extracted from human Alzheimer's disease (AD) brains. We describe a novel method for sequentially extracting tau pathologies from human AD brain in high yield and purity. We then describe how to intracerebrally inject this extract into a nontransgenic mouse brain and analyze the transmission of tau pathology. This novel sporadic tauopathy model can be used to study the transmission of tau aggregates and test new tau-directed therapies.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related tauopathies are neurodegenerative diseases that are characterized by the presence of insoluble inclusions of the protein tau within brain neurons and often glia. Tau is normally found associated with axonal microtubules (MTs) in the brain, and in tauopathies this MT binding is diminished due to tau hyperphosphorylation. As MTs play a critical role in the movement of cellular constituents within neurons via axonal transport, it is likely that the dissociation of tau from MTs alters MT structure and axonal transport, and there is evidence of this in tauopathy mouse models as well as in AD brain. We previously demonstrated that different natural products which stabilize MTs by interacting with ?-tubulin at the taxane binding site provide significant benefit in transgenic mouse models of tauopathy. More recently, we have reported on a series of MT-stabilizing triazolopyrimidines (TPDs), which interact with ?-tubulin at the vinblastine binding site, that exhibit favorable properties including brain penetration and oral bioavailability. Here, we have examined a prototype TPD example, CNDR-51657, in a secondary prevention study utilizing aged tau transgenic mice. METHODS:9-Month old female PS19 mice with a low amount of existing tau pathology received twice-weekly administration of vehicle, or 3 or 10 mg/kg of CNDR-51657, for 3 months. Mice were examined in the Barnes maze at the end of the dosing period, and brain tissue and optic nerves were examined immunohistochemically or biochemically for changes in MT density, axonal dystrophy, and tau pathology. Mice were also assessed for changes in organ weights and blood cell numbers. RESULTS:CNDR-51657 caused a significant amelioration of the MT deficit and axonal dystrophy observed in vehicle-treated aged PS19 mice. Moreover, PS19 mice receiving CNDR-51657 had significantly lower tau pathology, with a trend toward improved Barnes maze performance. Importantly, no adverse effects were observed in the compound-treated mice, including no change in white blood cell counts as is often observed in cancer patients receiving high doses of MT-stabilizing drugs. CONCLUSIONS:A brain-penetrant MT-stabilizing TPD can safely correct MT and axonal deficits in an established mouse model of tauopathy, resulting in reduced tau pathology.
Project description:Understanding the biological functions of tau variants can illuminate differential etiologies of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and primary tauopathies. Though the end-stage neuropathological attributes of AD and primary tauopathies are similar, the etiology and behavioral outcomes of these diseases follow unique and divergent trajectories. To study the divergent physiological properties of tau variants on a uniform immunogenetic background, we created somatic transgenesis CNS models of tauopathy utilizing neonatal delivery of adeno-associated viruses expressing wild-type (WT) or mutant tau in non-transgenic mice. We selected four different tau variants-WT tau associated with AD, P301L mutant tau associated with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), S320F mutant tau associated with Pick's disease and a combinatorial approach using P301L/S320F mutant tau. CNS-targeted expression of WT and P301L mutant tau results in robust tau hyperphosphorylation without tangle pathology, gradually developing age-progressive memory deficits. In contrast, the S320F variant, especially in combination with P301L, produces an AD-type tangle pathology, focal neuroinflammation and memory impairment on an accelerated time scale. Using the doubly mutated P301L/S320F tau variant, we demonstrate that combining different mutations can have an additive effect on neuropathologies and associated co-morbidities, possibly hinting at involvement of unique functional pathways. Importantly, we also show that overexpression of wild-type tau as well as an FTD-associated tau variant can lead to cognitive deficits even in the absence of tangles. Together, our data highlights the synergistic neuropathologies and associated cognitive and synaptic alterations of the combinatorial tau variant leading to a robust model of tauopathy.
Project description:Post-translational modifications play a key role in tau protein aggregation and related neurodegeneration. Because hyperphosphorylation alone does not necessarily cause tau aggregation, other post-translational modifications have been recently explored. Tau acetylation promotes aggregation and inhibits tau's ability to stabilize microtubules. Recent studies have shown co-localization of acetylated and phosphorylated tau in AD and some 4R tauopathies. We developed a novel monoclonal antibody against acetylated tau at lysine residue 274, which recognizes both 3R and 4R tau, and used immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence to probe 22 cases, including AD and another eight familial or sporadic tauopathies. Acetylated tau was identified in all tauopathies except argyrophilic grain disease (AGD). AGD is an age-associated, common but atypical 4R tauopathy, not always associated with clinical progression. Pathologically, AGD is characterized by neuropil grains, pre-neurofibrillary tangles, and oligodendroglial coiled bodies, all recognized by phospho-tau antibodies. The lack of acetylated tau in these inclusions suggests that AGD represents a distinctive tauopathy. Our data converge with previous findings to raise the hypothesis that AGD could play a protective role against the spread of AD-related tau pathology. Tau acetylation as a key modification for the propagation tau toxicity deserves further investigation.
Project description:Brain lesions composed of pathological tau help to drive neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related tauopathies. Here, we identified the mammalian suppressor of tauopathy 2 (MSUT2) gene as a modifier of susceptibility to tau toxicity in two mouse models of tauopathy. Transgenic PS19 mice overexpressing tau, a model of AD, and lacking the Msut2 gene exhibited decreased learning and memory deficits, reduced neurodegeneration, and reduced accumulation of pathological tau compared to PS19 tau transgenic mice expressing Msut2 Conversely, Msut2 overexpression in 4RTauTg2652 tau transgenic mice increased pathological tau deposition and promoted the neuroinflammatory response to pathological tau. MSUT2 is a poly(A) RNA binding protein that antagonizes the canonical nuclear poly(A) binding protein PABPN1. In individuals with AD, MSUT2 abundance in postmortem brain tissue predicted an earlier age of disease onset. Postmortem AD brain tissue samples with normal amounts of MSUT2 showed elevated neuroinflammation associated with tau pathology. We observed co-depletion of MSUT2 and PABPN1 in postmortem brain samples from a subset of AD cases with higher tau burden and increased neuronal loss. This suggested that MSUT2 and PABPN1 may act together in a macromolecular complex bound to poly(A) RNA. Although MSUT2 and PABPN1 had opposing effects on both tau aggregation and poly(A) RNA tail length, we found that increased poly(A) tail length did not ameliorate tauopathy, implicating other functions of the MSUT2/PABPN1 complex in tau proteostasis. Our findings implicate poly(A) RNA binding proteins both as modulators of pathological tau toxicity in AD and as potential molecular targets for interventions to slow neurodegeneration in tauopathies.
Project description:Tauopathies including Alzheimer's disease (AD) are marked by the accumulation of aberrantly modified tau proteins. Acetylated tau, in particular, has recently been implicated in neurodegeneration and cognitive decline. HDAC6 reversibly regulates tau acetylation, but its role in tauopathy progression remains unclear. Here, we identified an HDAC6-chaperone complex that targets aberrantly modified tau. HDAC6 not only deacetylates tau but also suppresses tau hyperphosphorylation within the microtubule-binding region. In neurons and human AD brain, HDAC6 becomes co-aggregated within focal tau swellings and human AD neuritic plaques. Using mass spectrometry, we identify a novel HDAC6-regulated tau acetylation site as a disease specific marker for 3R/4R and 3R tauopathies, supporting uniquely modified tau species in different neurodegenerative disorders. Tau transgenic mice lacking HDAC6 show reduced survival characterized by accelerated tau pathology and cognitive decline. We propose that a HDAC6-dependent surveillance mechanism suppresses toxic tau accumulation, which may protect against the progression of AD and related tauopathies.
Project description:Aberrant tau protein accumulation drives neurofibrillary tangle (NFT) formation in several neurodegenerative diseases. Currently, efforts to elucidate pathogenic mechanisms and assess the efficacy of therapeutic targets are limited by constraints of existing models of tauopathy. In order to generate a more versatile mouse model of tauopathy, somatic brain transgenesis was utilized to deliver adeno-associated virus serotype 1 (AAV1) encoding human mutant P301L-tau compared with GFP control. At 6 months of age, we observed widespread human tau expression with concomitant accumulation of hyperphosphorylated and abnormally folded proteinase K resistant tau. However, no overt neuronal loss was observed, though significant abnormalities were noted in the postsynaptic scaffolding protein PSD95. Neurofibrillary pathology was also detected with Gallyas silver stain and Thioflavin-S, and electron microscopy revealed the deposition of closely packed filaments. In addition to classic markers of tauopathy, significant neuroinflammation and extensive gliosis were detected in AAV1-Tau(P301L) mice. This model also recapitulates the behavioral phenotype characteristic of mouse models of tauopathy, including abnormalities in exploration, anxiety, and learning and memory. These findings indicate that biochemical and neuropathological hallmarks of tauopathies are accurately conserved and are independent of cell death in this novel AAV-based model of tauopathy, which offers exceptional versatility and speed in comparison with existing transgenic models. Therefore, we anticipate this approach will facilitate the identification and validation of genetic modifiers of disease, as well as accelerate preclinical assessment of potential therapeutic targets.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Tau hyper-phosphorylation has been considered a major contributor to neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related tauopathies, and has gained prominence in therapeutic development for AD. To elucidate the pathogenic mechanisms underlying AD and evaluate therapeutic approaches targeting tau, numerous transgenic mouse models that recapitulate critical AD-like pathology have been developed. Tau P301S transgenic mice is one of the most widely used mouse models in AD research. Extensive studies have demonstrated that sex significantly influences AD pathology, behavioral status, and therapeutic outcomes, suggesting that studies using mouse models of AD must consider sex- and age-related differences in neuropathology, behavior, and plasma content. METHOD:We systematically investigated differences in tau P301S transgenic mice (PS19 line) and wildtype littermates of different sex behavioral performance, tau neuropathology, and biomarkers in plasma and brain. RESULTS:Male P301S transgenic mice exhibited significant changes in weight loss, survival rate, clasping, kyphosis, composite phenotype assessment, nest building performance, tau phosphorylation at Ser202/Thr205, and astrocyte activation compared to that of wild-type littermates. In contrast, female P301S transgenic mice were only sensitive in the Morris water maze and open field test. In addition, we characterized the absence of macrophage-inflammatory protein (MIP-3?) and the upregulation of interferon (IFN)-?, interleukin (IL)-5, and IL-6 in the plasma of P301S transgenic mice, which can be served as potential plasma biomarkers in P301S Tg mice. Male P301S transgenic mice expressed more monokine induced by IFN-? (MIG), tumor necrosis factor-? (TNF-?), IL-10, and IL-13 than those of female P301S mice. CONCLUSION:Our findings highlight sexual dimorphism in the behavior, neuropathology, and plasma proteins in tau P301S transgenic AD mice, indicating that the use of male P301S transgenic mice may be more suitable for assessing anti-phosphorylated tau therapeutic strategies for AD and related tauopathies, and the MIP-3? may be a new potential plasma biomarker.
Project description:Tauopathies are a class of neurodegenerative disorders characterized by abnormal deposition of post-translationally modified tau protein in the human brain. Tauopathies are associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD), chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and other diseases. Hyperphosphorylation increases tau tendency to aggregate and form neurofibrillary tangles (NFT), a pathological hallmark of AD. In this study, okadaic acid (OA, 100 nM), a protein phosphatase 1/2A inhibitor, was treated for 24h in mouse neuroblastoma (N2a) and differentiated rat primary neuronal cortical cell cultures (CTX) to induce tau-hyperphosphorylation and oligomerization as a cell-based tauopathy model. Following the treatments, the effectiveness of different kinase inhibitors was assessed using the tauopathy-relevant tau antibodies through tau-immunoblotting, including the sites: pSer202/pThr205 (AT8), pThr181 (AT270), pSer202 (CP13), pSer396/pSer404 (PHF-1), and pThr231 (RZ3). OA-treated samples induced tau phosphorylation and oligomerization at all tested epitopes, forming a monomeric band (46-67 kDa) and oligomeric bands (170 kDa and 240 kDa). We found that TBB (a casein kinase II inhibitor), AR and LiCl (GSK-3 inhibitors), cyclosporin A (calcineurin inhibitor), and Saracatinib (Fyn kinase inhibitor) caused robust inhibition of OA-induced monomeric and oligomeric p-tau in both N2a and CTX culture. Additionally, a cyclin-dependent kinase 5 inhibitor (Roscovitine) and a calcium chelator (EGTA) showed contrasting results between the two neuronal cultures. This study provides a comprehensive view of potential drug candidates (TBB, CsA, AR, and Saracatinib), and their efficacy against tau hyperphosphorylation and oligomerization processes. These findings warrant further experimentation, possibly including animal models of tauopathies, which may provide a putative Neurotherapy for AD, CTE, and other forms of tauopathy-induced neurodegenerative diseases.
Project description:OBJECTIVE: Cellular inclusions of hyperphosphorylated tau are a hallmark of tauopathies, which are neurodegenerative disorders that include Alzheimer's disease (AD). Active and passive immunization against hyperphosphorylated tau has been shown to attenuate phenotypes in model mice. We developed new monoclonal antibodies to hyperphosphorylated tau and sought high therapeutic efficacy for future clinical use. METHODS: Using more than 20 antibodies, we investigated which sites on tau are phosphorylated early and highly in the tauopathy mouse models tau609 and tau784. These mice display tau hyperphosphorylation, synapse loss, memory impairment at 6 months, and tangle formation and neuronal loss at 15 months. We generated mouse monoclonal antibodies to selected epitopes and examined their effects on memory and tau pathology in aged tau609 and tau784 mice by the Morris water maze and by histological and biochemical analyses. RESULTS: Immunohistochemical screening revealed that pSer413 is expressed early and highly. Monoclonal antibodies to pSer413 and to pSer396 (control) were generated. These antibodies specifically recognized pathological tau in AD brains but not normal tau in control brains according to Western blots. Representative anti-pSer413 and anti-pSer396 antibodies were injected intraperitoneally into 10-11- or 14-month-old mice once a week at 0.1 or 1 mg/shot 5 times. The anti-pSer413 antibody significantly improved memory, whereas the anti-pSer396 antibodies showed less effect. The cognitive improvement paralleled a reduction in the levels of tau hyperphosphorylation, tau oligomer accumulation, synapse loss, tangle formation, and neuronal loss. INTERPRETATION: These results indicate that pSer413 is a promising target in the treatment of tauopathy.