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Hum Mol Genet. 2018 Jul 1;27(13):2244-2261. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddy129.

Differential effects of 14-3-3 dimers on Tau phosphorylation, stability and toxicity in vivo.

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Division of Neuroscience, Biomedical Sciences Research Centre 'Alexander Fleming', Vari 16672, Greece.
Proteomics Facility, Biomedical Sciences Research Centre 'Alexander Fleming', Vari 16672, Greece.


Neurodegenerative dementias collectively known as Tauopathies involve aberrant phosphorylation and aggregation of the neuronal protein Tau. The largely neuronal 14-3-3 proteins are also elevated in the central nervous system (CNS) and cerebrospinal fluid of Tauopathy patients, suggesting functional linkage. We use the simplicity and genetic facility of the Drosophila system to investigate in vivo whether 14-3-3s are causal or synergistic with Tau accumulation in precipitating pathogenesis. Proteomic, biochemical and genetic evidence demonstrate that both Drosophila 14-3-3 proteins interact with human wild-type and mutant Tau on multiple sites irrespective of their phosphorylation state. 14-3-3 dimers regulate steady-state phosphorylation of both wild-type and the R406W mutant Tau, but they are not essential for toxicity of either variant. Moreover, 14-3-3 elevation itself is not pathogenic, but recruitment of dimers on accumulating wild-type Tau increases its steady-state levels ostensibly by occluding access to proteases in a phosphorylation-dependent manner. In contrast, the R406W mutant, which lacks a putative 14-3-3 binding site, responds differentially to elevation of each 14-3-3 isoform. Although excess 14-3-3ζ stabilizes the mutant protein, elevated D14-3-3ɛ has a destabilizing effect probably because of altered 14-3-3 dimer composition. Our collective data demonstrate the complexity of 14-3-3/Tau interactions in vivo and suggest that 14-3-3 attenuation is not appropriate ameliorative treatment of Tauopathies. Finally, we suggest that 'bystander' 14-3-3s are recruited by accumulating Tau with the consequences depending on the composition of available dimers within particular neurons and the Tau variant.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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