Frontotemporal lobar dementia mutant tau impairs axonal transport through a protein phosphatase 1γ-dependent mechanism
Christensen, Kyle R.
Mueller, Rebecca L.
Morris, Sarah L.
Morfini, Gerardo A.
Brady, Scott T.
Kanaan, Nicholas M.
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KeywordAlzheimer's disease; axonal transport; neurodegeneration; protein phosphatase 1; tau protein; tauopathies
Pathologic tau modifications are characteristic of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, but mechanisms of tau toxicity continue to be debated. Inherited mutations in tau cause early onset frontotemporal lobar dementias (FTLD-tau) and are commonly used to model mechanisms of tau toxicity in tauopathies. Previous work in the isolated squid axoplasm model demonstrated that several pathogenic forms of tau inhibit axonal transport through a mechanism involving activation of protein phosphatase 1 (PP1). Here, we determined that P301L and R5L FTLD mutant tau proteins elicit a toxic effect on axonal transport as monomeric proteins. We evaluated interactions of wild-type or mutant tau with specific PP1 isoforms (α, β, and γ) to examine how the interaction contributes to this toxic effect using primary rat hippocampal neurons from both sexes. Pull-down and bioluminescence resonance energy transfer experiments revealed selective interactions of wild-type tau with PP1α and PP1γ isoforms, but not PP1β, which were significantly increased by the P301L tau mutation. The results from proximity ligation assays confirmed the interaction in primary hippocampal neurons. Moreover, expression of FTLD-linked mutant tau in these neurons enhanced levels of active PP1, also increasing the pausing frequency of fluorescently labeled vesicles in both anterograde and retrograde directions. Knockdown of PP1γ, but not PP1α, rescued the cargo-pausing effects of P301L and R5L tau, a result replicated by deleting a phosphatase-activating domain in the amino terminus of P301L tau. These findings support a model of tau toxicity involving aberrant activation of a specific PP1γ-dependent pathway that disrupts axonal transport in neurons.
© The Author(s), 2021. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Combs, B., Christensen, K. R., Richards, C., Kneynsberg, A., Mueller, R. L., Morris, S. L., Morfini, G., Brady, S. T., & Kanaan, N. M. Frontotemporal lobar dementia mutant tau impairs axonal transport through a protein phosphatase 1γ-dependent mechanism. Journal of Neuroscience, 41(45), (2021): 9431-9451, https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1914-20.2021.
Suggested CitationCombs, B., Christensen, K. R., Richards, C., Kneynsberg, A., Mueller, R. L., Morris, S. L., Morfini, G., Brady, S. T., & Kanaan, N. M. (2021). Frontotemporal lobar dementia mutant tau impairs axonal transport through a protein phosphatase 1γ-dependent mechanism. Journal of Neuroscience, 41(45), 9431-9451.
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