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J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2001 Sep;60(9):872-84.

Selective deposition of mutant tau in the FTDP-17 brain affected by the P301L mutation.

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  • 1Department of Neuropathology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Japan.


Frontotemporal dementia and parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 (FTDP-17) is a familial neurological disorder exhibiting autosomal dominant inheritance. Linkage analyses have led to the identification of many exonic and intronic mutations in the tau gene in affected families. Because FTDP- 17 causes extensive neuronal loss and intracellular tau deposits in affected regions, investigation of this disease should provide an important insight into the significance of tau deposits leading to neurodegeneration. Using site-specific antibodies that distinguish between wild-type and mutant tau, we have analyzed the proportions of wild-type and mutant tau in the soluble and insoluble fractions of the P301L brain. Western blotting showed that mutant tau was selectively deposited in the Sarkosyl-insoluble fraction. Consistent with this, immunocytochemistry showed that intraneuronal tau deposits consisted exclusively of mutant tau. In one case in which abundant senile plaques occurred, in addition to mutant tau, small amounts of wild-type tau were also deposited. On the other hand, the protein levels of mutant tau in the soluble fraction were selectively decreased despite no detectable decrease in the levels of mutant tau mRNA.

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