- Tau aggregation into ordered assemblies causes neurodegenerative tauopathies. We previously reported that tau monomer exists in either inert (Mi) or seed-competent (Ms) conformational ensembles and that Ms encodes strains, that is, unique, self-replicating, biologically active assemblies. It is unknown if disease begins with Ms formation followed by fibril assembly or if Ms derives from fibrils and is therefore an epiphenomenon. Here, we studied a tauopathy mouse model (PS19) that expresses full-length mutant human (1N4R) tau (P301S).
- Tau aggregation underlies neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease and related tauopathies. We and others have proposed that transcellular propagation of pathology is mediated by Tau prions, which are ordered protein assemblies that faithfully replicate in vivo and cause specific biological effects. The prion model predicts the release of aggregates from a first-order cell and subsequent uptake into a second-order cell. The assemblies then serve as templates for their own replication, a process termed “seeding.” We have previously observed that heparan sulfate proteoglycans on the cell surface mediate the cellular uptake of Tau aggregates.
- Parkinson’s disease (PD) and multiple system atrophy (MSA) are distinct clinical syndromes characterized by the pathological accumulation of α-synuclein (α-syn) protein fibrils in neurons and glial cells. These disorders and other neurodegenerative diseases may progress via prion-like mechanisms. The prion model of propagation predicts the existence of “strains” that link pathological aggregate structure and neuropathology. Prion strains are aggregated conformers that stably propagate in vivo and cause disease with defined incubation times and patterns of neuropathology.
- Transcellular propagation of protein aggregate “seeds” has been proposed to mediate the progression of neurodegenerative diseases in tauopathies and α-synucleinopathies. We previously reported that tau and α-synuclein aggregates bind heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs) on the cell surface, promoting cellular uptake and intracellular seeding. However, the specificity and binding mode of these protein aggregates to HSPGs remain unknown. Here, we measured direct interaction with modified heparins to determine the size and sulfation requirements for tau, α-synuclein, and β-amyloid (Aβ) aggregate binding to glycosaminoglycans (GAGs).
- Background: Vaccination against Tau reduces pathology in vivo; however, the mechanism of action remains unclear.Results: Antibodies promote uptake of Tau fibrils in microglia or block uptake in neurons in a size- and epitope-dependent manner.Conclusion: Antibodies have multiple potential mechanisms.Significance: Establishing specific mechanisms of antibody activity may help in design and optimization of more effective agents.