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FEBS Lett. 1998 Apr 17;426(2):248-54.

The regulation of phosphorylation of tau in SY5Y neuroblastoma cells: the role of protein phosphatases.

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Osaka Medical School, Department of Psychiatry, Japan.


In Alzheimer disease brain the microtubule associated protein (MAP) tau is abnormally hyperphosphorylated. The role of protein phosphatases (PP) in the regulation of phosphorylation of tau was studied in undifferentiated SY5Y cells. In cells treated with 10 nM okadaic acid (OA), a PP-2A/PP-1 inhibitor, the PP-1 and -2A activities decreased by 60% and 100% respectively and the activities of MAPKs, cdc2 kinase and cdk5, but not of GSK-3, increased. OA increased the phosphorylation of tau at Thr-231/Ser-235 and Ser-3961404, but not at Ser-262/356 or Ser-199/202. An increase in tyrosinated/detyrosinated tubulin ratio, a decrease in the microtubule binding activities of tau, MAP1b and MAP2, and cell death were observed. Treatment with 1 microm taxol partially inhibited the cell death. These data suggest (1) that OA induced hyperphosphorylation of tau is probably the result of activated MAPK and cdks in addition to decreased PP-2A and PP-1 activities and (2) that in SY5Y cells the OA induced cell death is associated with a decrease in stable microtubules.

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