Red Ginseng Inhibits Tau Aggregation and Promotes Tau Dissociation In Vitro.
ABSTRACT: Tau, a microtubule-associated protein expressed in mature neurons, interacts with tubulin to promote the assembly and stabilization of microtubules. However, abnormally hyperphosphorylated tau dissociates from microtubules and self-aggregates. Tau aggregates, including paired helical filaments and neurofibrillary tangles, promote neuronal dysfunction and death and are the defining neuropathological feature of tauopathies. Therefore, suppressing tau aggregation or stimulating the dissociation of tau aggregates has been proposed as an effective strategy for treating neurodegenerative diseases associated with tau pathology such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) and frontotemporal dementia. Interestingly, ginsenosides extracted from Panax ginseng reduced the hippocampal and cortical expression of phosphorylated tau in a rat model of AD. However, no studies have been conducted into the effect of red ginseng (RG) and its components on tau pathology. Here, we evaluated the effect of Korean red ginseng extract (KRGE) and its components on the aggregation and disassociation of tau. Using the thioflavin T assay, we monitored the change in fluorescence produced by the aggregation or disassociation of tau K18, an aggregation-prone fragment of tau441 containing the microtubule-binding domain. Our analysis revealed that KRGE not only inhibited tau aggregation but also promoted the dissociation of tau aggregates. In addition, the KRGE fractions, such as saponin, nonsaponin, and nonsaponin fraction with rich polysaccharide, also inhibited tau aggregation and promoted the dissociation of tau aggregates. Our observations suggest that RG could be a potential therapeutic agent for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases associated with tauopathy.
Project description:Tau is a neuron-specific microtubule-binding protein that stabilizes microtubules. It is generally thought that highly phosphorylated tau dissociates from microtubules and becomes insoluble aggregates, leading to neuronal degeneration. Due to the implication of tau aggregation in neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, great efforts have been made to identify the tau aggregation process. However, tau interaction with tubulin during the aggregation process remains largely unknown. To scrutinize the tau-tubulin interaction, we generated a cell model that enables visualization of the tau-tubulin interaction in a living cell using the Bifluorescence Complementation (BiFC) Technique. Upon diverse chemical stimulation that induced tau pathology, tau-tubulin BiFC cells showed significantly increased levels of BiFC fluorescence, indicating that tau aggregates together with tubulin. Our results suggest that tubulin should be considered as a key component in the tau aggregation process.
Project description:The consistent observation of phosphorylated tau in the pathology of Alzheimer's disease has contributed to the emergence of a model where hyperphosphorylation triggers both tau disassociation from microtubules and its subsequent aggregation. Herein, we applied a total chemical synthetic approach to site-specifically phosphorylate the microtubule binding repeat domain of tau (K18) at single (pS356) or multiple (pS356/pS262 and pS356/pS262/pS258) residues. We show that hyperphosphorylation of K18 inhibits 1)?its aggregation in?vitro, 2)?its seeding activity in cells, 3)?its binding to microtubules, and 4)?its ability to promote microtubule polymerization. The inhibition increased with increasing the number of phosphorylated sites, with phosphorylation at S262 having the strongest effect. Our results argue against the hyperphosphorylation hypothesis and underscore the importance of revisiting the role of site-specific hyperphosphorylation in regulating tau functions in health and disease.
Project description:The aggregation of the microtubule-associated protein tau is a seminal event in many neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease. The inhibition or reversal of tau aggregation is therefore a potential therapeutic strategy for these diseases. Fungal natural products have proven to be a rich source of useful compounds having wide varieties of biological activities. We have previously screened Aspergillus nidulans secondary metabolites for their ability to inhibit tau aggregation in vitro using an arachidonic acid polymerization protocol. One aggregation inhibitor identified was asperbenzaldehyde, an intermediate in azaphilone biosynthesis. We therefore tested 11 azaphilone derivatives to determine their tau assembly inhibition properties in vitro. All compounds tested inhibited tau filament assembly to some extent, and four of the 11 compounds had the advantageous property of disassembling preformed tau aggregates in a dose-dependent fashion. The addition of these compounds to the tau aggregates reduced both the total length and number of tau polymers. The most potent compounds were tested in in vitro reactions to determine whether they interfere with tau's normal function of stabilizing microtubules (MTs). We found that they did not completely inhibit MT assembly in the presence of tau. These derivatives are very promising lead compounds for tau aggregation inhibitors and, more excitingly, for compounds that can disassemble pre-existing tau filaments. They also represent a new class of anti-tau aggregation compounds with a novel structural scaffold.
Project description:Microtubule-associated protein tau is the major component of paired helical filaments (PHFs) associated with the neuropathology of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Tau in the normal brain binds and stabilizes microtubules. Tau isolated from PHFs is hyperphosphorylated, which prevents it from binding to microtubules. Tau phosphorylation has been suggested to be involved in the development of NFT pathology in the AD brain. Recently, we showed that 14-3-3? is bound to tau in the PHFs and when incubated in vitro with 14-3-3?, tau formed amorphous aggregates, single-stranded straight filaments, double stranded ribbon-like filaments and PHF-like filaments that displayed close resemblance with corresponding ultrastructures of AD brain. Surprisingly however, phosphorylated and non-phosphorylated tau aggregated in a similar manner, indicating that tau phosphorylation does not affect in vitro tau aggregation (Qureshi et al (2013) Biochemistry 52, 6445-6455). In this study, we have examined the role of tau phosphorylation in tau aggregation in cellular level. We have found that in human M17 neuroblastoma cells, tau phosphorylation by GSK3? or PKA does not cause tau aggregation, but promotes 14-3-3?-induced tau aggregation by destabilizing microtubules. Microtubule disrupting drugs also promoted 14-3-3?-induced tau aggregation without changing tau phosphorylation in M17 cell. In vitro, when incubated with 14-3-3? and microtubules, nonphosphorylated tau bound to microtubules and did not aggregate. Phosphorylated tau on the other hand did not bind to microtubules and aggregated. Our data indicate that microtubule-bound tau is resistant to 14-3-3?-induced tau aggregation and suggest that tau phosphorylation promotes tau aggregation in the brain by detaching tau from microtubules and thus making it accessible to 14-3-3?.
Project description:Tau is a microtubule binding protein that forms pathological aggregates in the brain in Alzheimer's disease and other tauopathies. Disease etiology is thought to arise from loss of native interactions between tau and microtubules, as well as from gain of toxicity tied to tau aggregation, although neither mechanism is well understood. Here we investigate the link between function and disease using disease-associated and disease-motivated mutants of tau. We find that mutations to highly conserved proline residues in repeats 2 and 3 of the microtubule binding domain have differential effects on tau binding to tubulin and the capacity of tau to enhance tubulin polymerization. Notably, mutations to these residues result in an increased affinity for tubulin dimers while having a negligible effect on binding to stabilized microtubules. We measure conformational changes in tau on binding to tubulin that provide a structural framework for the observed altered affinity and function. Additionally, we find that these mutations do not necessarily enhance aggregation, which could have important implications for tau therapeutic strategies that focus solely on searching for tau aggregation inhibitors. We propose a model that describes tau binding to tubulin dimers and a mechanism by which disease-relevant alterations to tau impact its function. Together, these results draw attention to the interaction between tau and free tubulin as playing an important role in mechanisms of tau pathology.
Project description:Tau is a phosphoprotein with natively unfolded conformation that functions to stabilize microtubules in axons. Alzheimer's disease pathology triggers several modifications in tau, which causes it to lose its affinity towards microtubule, thus, leading to microtubule disassembly and loss of axonal integrity. This elicit accumulation of tau as paired helical filaments is followed by stable neurofibrillary tangles formation. A large number of small molecules have been isolated from Azadirachta indica with varied medicinal applications. The intermediate and final limonoids, nimbin and salannin respectively, isolated from Azadirachta indica, were screened against tau aggregation. ThS and ANS fluorescence assay showed the role of intermediate and final limonoids in preventing heparin induced cross-β sheet formation and also decreased hydrophobicity, which are characteristic nature of tau aggregation. Transmission electron microscopy studies revealed that limonoids restricted the aggregation of tau to fibrils; in turn, limonoids led to the formation of short and fragile aggregates. Both the limonoids were non-toxic to HEK293T cells thus, substantiating limonoids as a potential lead in overcoming Alzheimer's disease.
Project description:Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease with high morbidity that has received extensive attention. However, its pathogenesis has not yet been completely elucidated. It is mainly related to β-amyloid protein deposition, the hyperphosphorylation of tau protein, and the loss of neurons. The main function of tau is to assemble tubulin into stable microtubules. Under pathological conditions, tau is hyperphosphorylated, which is the major component of neurofibrillary tangles (NFT) in AD. There is considerable evidence showing that the dyshomeostasis of Zn2+ is closely related to the development of AD. Herein, by using the third repeat unit of the microtubule-binding domain of tau (tau-R3), we investigated the effect of Zn2+ on the aggregation and neurotoxicity of tau. Experimental results showed that tau-R3 probably bound Zn2+ via its Cys residue with moderate affinity (association constant (Ka) = 6.82 ± 0.29 × 10⁴ M-1). Zn2+ accelerated tau-R3 aggregation and promoted tau-R3 to form short fibrils and oligomers. Compared with tau-R3, Zn2+-tau-R3 aggregates were more toxic to Neuro-2A (N2A) cells and induced N2A cells to produce higher levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS). The dendrites and axons of Zn2+-tau-R3-treated neurons became fewer and shorter, resulting in a large number of neuronal deaths. In addition, both tau-R3 and Zn2+-tau-R3 aggregates were found to be taken up by N2A cells, and more Zn2+-tau-R3 entered the cells compared with tau-R3. Our data demonstrated that Zn2+ can aggravate tau-R3 aggregation and neurotoxicity, providing clues to understand the relationship between Zn2+ dyshomeostasis and the etiology of Alzheimer's disease.
Project description:Aggregates composed of the microtubule associated protein, tau, are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease and non-Alzheimer's tauopathies. Extracellular tau can induce the accumulation and aggregation of intracellular tau, and tau pathology can be transmitted along neural networks over time. There are six splice variants of central nervous system tau, and various oligomeric and fibrillar forms are associated with neurodegeneration in vivo. The particular extracellular forms of tau capable of transferring tau pathology from neuron to neuron remain ill defined, however, as do the consequences of intracellular tau aggregation on neuronal physiology. The present study was undertaken to compare the effects of extracellular tau monomers, oligomers, and filaments comprising various tau isoforms on the behavior of cultured neurons. We found that 2N4R or 2N3R tau oligomers provoked aggregation of endogenous intracellular tau much more effectively than monomers or fibrils, or of oligomers made from other tau isoforms, and that a mixture of all six isoforms most potently provoked intracellular tau accumulation. These effects were associated with invasion of tau into the somatodendritic compartment. Finally, we observed that 2N4R oligomers perturbed fast axonal transport of membranous organelles along microtubules. Intracellular tau accumulation was often accompanied by increases in the run length, run time and instantaneous velocity of membranous cargo. This work indicates that extracellular tau oligomers can disrupt normal neuronal homeostasis by triggering axonal tau accumulation and loss of the polarized distribution of tau, and by impairing fast axonal transport.
Project description:Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by the presence of two histopathological hallmarks; the senile plaques, or extracellular deposits mainly composed of amyloid-beta peptide (Abeta), and the neurofibrillary tangles, or intraneuronal inclusions composed of hyperphosphorylated tau protein.Since Abeta aggregates are found in the pathological cases, several strategies are under way to develop drugs that interact with Abeta to reduce its assembly. One of them is 3-amino-1-propane sulfonic acid (Tramiprosate, 3-APS, Alzhemedtrade mark), that was developed as a sulfated glycosaminoglycan mimetic, that could interact with Abeta peptide, preventing its aggregation.However, little is known about the action of 3-APS on tau protein aggregation. In this work, we have tested the action of 3-APS on cell viability, microtubule network, actin organization and tau aggregation. Our results indicate that 3-APS favours tau aggregation, in tau transfected non-neuronal cells, and in neuronal cells. We also found that 3-APS does not affect the binding of tau to microtubules but may prevent the formation of tau-actin aggregates. We like to emphasize the importance of testing on both types of pathology (amyloid and tau) the potential drugs to be used for AD treatment.
Project description:The role of microtubule-associated protein Tau in neurodegeneration has been extensively investigated since the discovery of Tau amyloid aggregates in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). The process of formation of amyloid fibrils is known as amyloidogenesis and attracts much attention as a potential target in the prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative conditions linked to protein aggregation. Cerebral deposition of amyloid aggregates of Tau is observed not only in AD but also in numerous other tauopathies and prion diseases. Amyloidogenesis of intrinsically unstructured monomers of Tau can be triggered by mutations in the Tau gene, post-translational modifications, or interactions with polyanionic molecules and aggregation-prone proteins/peptides. The self-assembly of amyloid fibrils of Tau shares a number of characteristic features with amyloidogenesis of other proteins involved in neurodegenerative diseases. For example, in vitro experiments have demonstrated that the nucleation phase, which is the rate-limiting stage of Tau amyloidogenesis, is shortened in the presence of fragmented preformed Tau fibrils acting as aggregation templates ("seeds"). Accordingly, Tau aggregates released by tauopathy-affected neurons can spread the neurodegenerative process in the brain through a prion-like mechanism, originally described for the pathogenic form of prion protein. Moreover, Tau has been shown to form amyloid strains-structurally diverse self-propagating aggregates of potentially various pathological effects, resembling in this respect prion strains. Here, we review the current literature on Tau aggregation and discuss mechanisms of propagation of Tau amyloid in the light of the prion-like paradigm.