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Am J Pathol. 2011 May;178(5):2275-85. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2011.01.030.

Tyrosine nitration within the proline-rich region of Tau in Alzheimer's disease.

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Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois.


A substantial body of evidence suggests that nitrative injury contributes to neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other neurodegenerative disorders. Previously, we showed in vitro that within the tau protein the N-terminal tyrosine residues (Y18 and Y29) are more susceptible to nitrative modifications than other tyrosine sites (Y197 and Y394). Using site-specific antibodies to nitrated tau at Y18 and Y29, we identified tau nitrated in both glial (Y18) and neuronal (Y29) tau pathologies. In this study, we report the characterization of two novel monoclonal antibodies, Tau-nY197 and Tau-nY394, recognizing tau nitrated at Y197 and Y394, respectively. By Western blot analysis, Tau-nY197 labeled soluble tau and insoluble paired helical filament proteins (PHF-tau) nitrated at Y197 from control and AD brain samples. Tau-nY394 failed to label soluble tau isolated from control or severe AD samples, but labeled insoluble PHF-tau to a limited extent. Immunohistochemical analysis using Tau-nY197 revealed the hallmark tau pathology associated with AD; Tau-nY394 did not detect any pathological lesions characteristic of the disorder. These data suggest that a subset of the hallmark pathological inclusions of AD contain tau nitrated at Y197. However, nitration at Y197 was also identified in soluble tau from all control samples, including those at Braak stage 0, suggesting that nitration at this site in the proline-rich region of tau may have normal biological functions in the human brain.

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