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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009 Jul 24;385(2):236-40. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2009.05.047. Epub 2009 May 18.

Three-/four-repeat-dependent aggregation profile of tau microtubule-binding domain clarified by dynamic light scattering analysis.

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Osaka University of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Takatsuki, Osaka, Japan.


The analysis of the self-assembly mechanism of the tau microtubule-binding domain (MBD) could provide the information needed to develop an effective method for the inhibition of the tau filament formation because of its core region that forms the filament. The MBD domain in the living body consists of similar three or four 31- to 32-residue repeats, namely 3RMBD (R134) and 4RMBD (R1234), respectively. The filament formation of the MBD has been mainly investigated by fluorescence spectroscopy utilizing the beta-sheet structure-binding signal sensor thioflavin. This method observes the aggregation indirectly, and provides no information on the time-dependent change in aggregation size or volume. Thus, to determine the structure necessary for initiating MBD self-association, the dynamic light scattering (DLS) method was applied to the analysis of the aggregations of 3RMBD, 4RMBD and their component single repeats and shown to be a powerful tool for directly analyzing filament formation. DLS analysis clearly showed that the building unit for initiating the aggregation is the intermolecular R3-R3 disulfide-bonded dimer for 3RMBD and the intramolecular R2-R3 disulfide-bonded monomer for 4RMBD, and their aggregation processes under physiological condition differ from each other, which has not been clearly revealed by the conventional fluorescence method. The repeat-number-dependent aggregation model of MBD, together with the function of each repeat, reported in this paper should help to devise a method of preventing tau PHF formation.

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