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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2002 Oct;59(10):1668-80.

Functions and malfunctions of the tau proteins.

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a Department of Neurobiology, University of Osnabrück, Barbarastrasse 11, 49076 Osnabrück, Germany.


The tau proteins belong to the family of microtubule-associated proteins. They are mainly expressed in neurons where they play major regulatory roles in the organization and integrity of the cytoskeleton network. Neurofibrillary changes of abnormally hyperphosphorylated tau are a key lesion in Alzheimer's disease and a number of other tauopathies. However, despite an ever-increasing body of data on the changes which tau undergoes in disease, its role regarding the fundamental disease process is still unclear. Moreover, conceptions of tau functions continue to evolve, which complicates an understanding of its role in the disease process. This review attempts to summarize data on the role of tau proteins in the context of both normal cellular function and dysfunction. Furthermore, we try to develop a mechanistic framework for the involvement of tau during the disease process. The review closes with a look towards various approaches to elucidate the functions and malfunctions of tau.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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