Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am J Pathol. 2003 Aug;163(2):591-607.

Up-regulation of phosphorylated/activated p70 S6 kinase and its relationship to neurofibrillary pathology in Alzheimer's disease.

Author information

  • 1Division of Experimental Geriatrics, Karolinska Institutet, Neurotec, Novum, Huddinge, Sweden.

Erratum in

  • Am J Pathol. 2003 Dec;163(6):2645.


The ribosomal S6 protein kinase p70 S6 kinase is known for its role in modulating cell-cycle progression, cell size, and cell survival. In response to mitogen stimulation, p70 S6 kinase activation up-regulates ribosomal biosynthesis and enhances the translational capacity of the cell. In Alzheimer's disease (AD), there is a marked increase in total tau protein in the form of abnormally hyperphosphorylated tau (PHF-tau) in neurons with neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs). In the present study, we investigated whether p70 S6 kinase activation is associated with PHF-tau accumulation in AD. By immunohistochemistry, we found that the levels of phosphorylated p70 S6 kinase (at Thr389 or at Thr421/Ser424) were increased in accordance with the progressive sequence of neurofibrillary changes according to Braak's criteria. Confocal microscopy showed that in AD brain, phosphorylated p70 S6 kinase appeared especially in neurons that are known to later develop NFTs. This pattern of neurons showed dot-like structures of phosphorylated p70 S6 kinase and hyperphosphorylated tau, which partially correlated with rab5 (endosome marker), lamp-1 (lysosome marker), and ubiquitin (ubiquitin-proteasomal system marker). By indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, phosphorylated p70 S6 kinase (Thr389 or Thr421/Ser424), total tau, and PHF-tau were found to be significantly increased in AD brain as compared to control cases. The levels of total p70 S6 kinase and p70 S6 kinase phosphorylated at Thr421/Ser424 showed significant correlations with the levels of both total tau and PHF-tau. Regression analyses revealed a significant dependence of total tau or PHF-tau on p70 S6 kinase phosphorylated at Thr421/Ser424 rather than at Thr389. The levels of ribosomal protein S6 as well as the levels of markers for the proteolytic system were also significantly increased in AD as compared to control brain. Using a SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cell model, we found that 100 micro mol/L zinc sulfate could induce p70 S6 kinase phosphorylation and activation, in particular at Thr421/Ser424. This up-regulation of the activated kinase resulted in an increased expression and phosphorylation of tau. Pretreatment of cells with rapamycin (an inhibitor of FRAP/mTOR which is the immediate upstream kinase of the p70 S6 kinase) attenuated the effects induced by zinc. In primary cultured neurons of rat cortical cortex, zinc sulfate treatment could repeat p70 S6 kinase phosphorylation and activation at Thr421/Ser424, followed by increased expression and phosphorylation of tau. Taken together, these data suggest that activated p70 S6 kinase could mediate an up-regulation of tau translation. The partial co-localization of phosphorylated p70 S6 kinase with rab5, lamp-1 and ubiquitin, or PHF-tau with ubiquitin suggests that the activated proteolytic system might not be sufficient to degrade the over-produced and over-phosphorylated tau protein. A p70 S6 kinase modulated up-regulation of tau translation might contribute to PHF-tau accumulation in neurons with neurofibrillary changes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center