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J Biol Chem. 2004 Jan 30;279(5):3801-6. Epub 2003 Nov 5.

Glycogen synthase kinase-3 plays a crucial role in tau exon 10 splicing and intranuclear distribution of SC35. Implications for Alzheimer's disease.

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  • 1Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas/CSIC/Universidad Autónoma, Fac. Ciencias. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid, Spain.


Tauopathies, including Alzheimer's disease, are neurodegenerative disorders in which tau protein accumulates as a consequence of alterations in its metabolism. At least three different types of alterations have been described; in some cases, an aberrant mRNA splicing of tau exon 10 occurs; in other cases, the disorder is a consequence of missense mutations and, in most cases, aberrant tau hyperphosphorylation takes place. Glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) has emerged as a key kinase that is able to interact with several proteins involved in the etiology of Alzheimer's disease and other tauopathies. Here, we have evaluated whether GSK-3 is also able to modulate tau-mRNA splicing. Our data demonstrate that GSK-3 inhibition in cultured neurons affects tau splicing resulting in an increase in tau mRNA containing exon 10. Pre-mRNA splicing is catalyzed by a multimolecular complex including members of the serine/arginine-rich (SR) family of splicing factors. Immunofluorescence studies showed that after GSK-3 inhibition, SC35, a member of the SR family, is redistributed and enriched in nuclear speckles and colocalizes with the kinase. Furthermore, immunoprecipitated SC35 is phosphorylated by recombinant GSK-3beta. Phosphorylation of a peptide from the SR domain by GSK-3 revealed that the peptide needs to be prephosphorylated, suggesting the involvement of a priming kinase. Our results demonstrate that GSK-3 plays a crucial role in tau exon 10 splicing, raising the possibility that GSK3 could contribute to tauopathies via aberrant tau splicing.

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