Thr175-phosphorylated tau induces pathologic fibril formation via GSK3β-mediated phosphorylation of Thr231 in vitro.


We have previously shown that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with cognitive impairment can be characterized by pathologic inclusions of microtubule-associated protein tau (tau) phosphorylated at Thr(175) (pThr(175)) in association with GSK3β activation. We have now examined whether pThr(175) induces GSK3β activation and whether this leads to pathologic fibril formation through Thr(231) phosphorylation. Seventy-two hours after transfection of Neuro2A cells with pseudophosphorylated green fluorescent protein-tagged 2N4R tau (Thr(175)Asp), phosphorylated kinase glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta (active GSK3β) levels were significantly increased as was pathologic fibril formation and cell death. Treatment with each of 4 GSK3β inhibitors or small hairpin RNA knockdown of GSK3β abolished fibril formation and prevented cell death. Inhibition of Thr(231) phosphorylation (Thr(231)Ala) prevented pathologic tau fibril formation, regardless of Thr(175) state, whereas Thr(231)Asp (pseudophosphorylated at Thr(231)) developed pathologic tau fibrils. Ser(235) mutations did not affect fibril formation, indicating an unprimed mechanism of Thr(231) phosphorylation. These findings suggest a mechanism of tau pathology by which pThr(175) induces GSK3β phosphorylation of Thr(231) leading to fibril formation, indicating a potential therapeutic avenue for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with cognitive impairment.

DOI: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2014.12.001

Cite this paper

@article{Moszczynski2015Thr175phosphorylatedTI, title={Thr175-phosphorylated tau induces pathologic fibril formation via GSK3β-mediated phosphorylation of Thr231 in vitro.}, author={Alexander Joseph Moszczynski and May Gohar and Kathryn Volkening and Cheryl Leystra-Lantz and Wendy L Strong and Michael J Strong}, journal={Neurobiology of aging}, year={2015}, volume={36 3}, pages={1590-9} }