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Hum Mol Genet. 2011 Oct 1;20(19):3738-45. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddr290. Epub 2011 Jun 24.

Important neuronal toxicity of microtubule-bound Tau in vivo in Drosophila.

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CNRS, UMR-5203, Institut de Génomique Fonctionnelle, 141 rue de la cardonille, Montpellier, France.


The microtubule-associated protein Tau is found in large amount in axons of neurons and is involved in human neurodegenerative diseases called tauopathies, which include Alzheimer's disease. In these diseases, the Tau protein is abnormally hyperphosphorylated and one therapeutic strategy currently under consideration consists in inhibiting Tau phosphorylation. However, the consequences of an excess of hypophosphorylated Tau onto neuronal physiology have not been investigated in vivo. Here we studied how important is Tau phosphorylation for axonal transport and neurohormone release in vivo, using the Drosophila model. Surprisingly, our results demonstrate a stronger toxicity of hypophosphorylated Tau for neuronal function, when compared with normal or pseudophosphorylated Tau. This reveals a potential limit of the current therapeutic strategy aimed at inhibiting Tau phosphorylation.

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