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Front. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnins.2019.01258

Seeding activity-based detection uncovers the different release mechanisms of seed-competent tau versus inert tau upon lysosomal stress.

  • 1Department of Neuropathology, Graduate School of Medicine and Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Japan
  • 2Department of Neuropathology, The University of Tokyo, Japan
  • 3Department of Biology, ETH Zürich, Switzerland

The pathological aggregation of tau characterizes a set of neurodegenerative diseases collectively referred to as tauopathies. Recent studies using cellular and animal models have suggested that tau pathology progresses by trans-cellular propagation. The process of propagation is mediated by certain species of extracellular tau, which are taken up by recipient cells and serve as a seed for tau aggregation. However, the molecular characteristics of extracellular seed-competent tau as well as its release mechanisms remain poorly investigated. Given that tau is physiologically released into the extracellular space, it is critical to distinguish seed-competent tau from normal monomeric tau.
Utilizing biosensor cells expressing P301S mutant tau fused with CFP/YFP, here we discriminated between seed-competent tau and inert monomer tau released from HEK293 cells. By analyzing the size-exclusion fractions of the media, we found that seed-competent tau was enriched in high molecular weight fractions of ~2,000 kDa, while the majority of soluble tau positively detected by ELISA was in low molecular weight fractions. We also found that lysosomal stress induced by bafilomycin A1 or chloroquine increased Ca2+ dependent release of seed-competent tau without altering release of soluble tau.
These data underscore the differential response of seed-competent tau and inert tau to lysosomal stress and indicates the presence of distinct release mechanisms.

Keywords: tau, propagation, seed, Alzheimer ' s disease, secretion, Lysosome

Received: 13 Jun 2019; Accepted: 06 Nov 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Tanaka, Yamada, Satake, Nsihida, Heuberger, Kuwahara and Iwatsubo. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Kaoru Yamada, Department of Neuropathology, Graduate School of Medicine and Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, 113-0033, Tokyo, Japan, yamadaka@m.u-tokyo.ac.jp