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Science. 2003 Apr 25;300(5619):636-40.

Initiation and synergistic fibrillization of tau and alpha-synuclein.

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Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.


Alpha-synuclein (alpha-syn) and tau polymerize into amyloid fibrils and form intraneuronal filamentous inclusions characteristic of neurodegenerative diseases. We demonstrate that alpha-syn induces fibrillization of tau and that coincubation of tau and alpha-syn synergistically promotes fibrillization of both proteins. The in vivo relevance of these findings is grounded in the co-occurrence of alpha-syn and tau filamentous amyloid inclusions in humans, in single transgenic mice that express A53T human alpha-syn in neurons, and in oligodendrocytes of bigenic mice that express wild-type human alpha-syn plus P301L mutant tau. This suggests that interactions between alpha-syn and tau can promote their fibrillization and drive the formation of pathological inclusions in human neurodegenerative diseases.

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