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J Biol Chem. 2002 Nov 1;277(44):42060-5. Epub 2002 Aug 20.

Aberrant tau phosphorylation by glycogen synthase kinase-3beta and JNK3 induces oligomeric tau fibrils in COS-7 cells.

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  • 1Laboratory for Alzheimer's Disease, Brain Science Institute, RIKEN, 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako-shi, Saitama 351-0198, Japan.


Neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) are found in a wide range of neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's disease. The major component of NFTs is aberrantly hyperphosphorylated microtubule-associated protein tau. Because appropriate in vivo models have been lacking, the role of tau phosphorylation in NFTs formation has remained elusive. Here, we describe a new model in which adenovirus-mediated gene expression of tau, DeltaMEKK, JNK3, and GSK-3beta in COS-7 cells produces most of the pathological phosphorylation epitopes of tau including AT100. Furthermore, this co-expression resulted in the formation of tau aggregates having short fibrils that were detergent-insoluble and Thioflavin-S-reactive. These results suggest that aberrant tau phosphorylation by the combination of these kinases may be involved in "pretangle," oligomeric tau fibril formation in vivo.

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