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Neurobiol Aging. 2011 Jul;32(7):1249-61. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2009.07.007. Epub 2009 Aug 22.

c-Abl tyrosine kinase modulates tau pathology and Cdk5 phosphorylation in AD transgenic mice.

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Departamento de Biología Celular y Molecular, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Av. Alameda 340, Santiago, Chile.


The c-Abl tyrosine kinase is an important link in signal transduction pathways that promote cytoskeletal rearrangement and apoptotic signalling. We have previously shown that amyloid-β-peptide (Aβ) activates c-Abl. Herein we show that c-Abl participates in Aβ-induced tau phosphorylation through Cdk5 activation. We found that intraperitoneal administration of STI571, a specific inhibitor for c-Abl kinase, decreased tau phosphorylation in the APPswe/PSEN1ΔE9 transgenic mouse brain. In addition, when neurons were treated with Aβ we observed: (i) an increase in active c-Abl and tau phosphorylation, (ii) the prevention of tau phosphorylation by STI571 and (iii) the inhibition of c-Abl expression by shRNA, as well as the expression of a c-Abl kinase death mutant, decreased AT8 and PHF1 signals. Furthermore, the increase of c-Abl was associated with Tyr15 phosphorylation of Cdk5 and its association with c-Abl. Brains from APPswe/PSEN1ΔE9 mice showed higher levels of c-Abl and phospho-Cdk5 than wild-type mice. Moreover, STI571 treatment decreased the phospho-Cdk5 levels. Together, the evidence suggests that activation of c-Abl by Aβ promotes tau phosphorylation through Tyr15 phosphorylation-mediated Cdk5 activation.

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