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FEBS Lett. 2009 Sep 17;583(18):3063-8. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2009.08.017. Epub 2009 Aug 18.

Function of tau protein in adult newborn neurons.

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Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa, CSIC/UAM, Fac. Ciencias, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid, Spain.


Levels of tau phosphorylation are high during the developmental period of intense neurite outgrowth, but decrease later. We here investigated whether tau protein plays a role in adult neurogenesis. First we demonstrate that new neurons generated in the subgranular zone express tau in a hyperphosphorylated form. Phospho-tau expression colocalized with doublecortin but not with glial fibrillary acidic protein, Ki67 or calbindin. The same was observed in the subventricular zone. Tau knockout mice did not show a significant decrease in the number of doublecortin-positive cells, although a deficit in migration was observed. These findings suggest that basal tau phosphorylation present in adult animals is in part due to neurogenesis, and from Tau knockout mice it seems that tau is involved in normal migration of new neurons.

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