Tau is a microtubule-associated protein expressed predominantly in neurons. The transcript of the tau gene is alternatively spliced. Resulting isoforms contain three or four microtubule-binding repeats. The shortest tau isoform contains only three repeats (3R) and is expressed at birth. Previous data on rodents suggested that this isoform is no longer expressed during adulthood. It is replaced by tau isoforms containing four repeats (4R). The adult 4R tau isoforms bind to microtubules with higher affinity than 3R tau isoforms. Therefore, this isoform switch may reflect a need for more dynamic microtubules during development. Recently, we observed in rats that the 3R tau isoform is transiently expressed in adult neurogenesis. Subsequently, we performed an immunohistochemical labeling of the 3R tau isoform on serial sections of the adult rat brain. Interestingly, the 3R tau isoform is not only expressed in neuronal precursor cells. It is also present in mature neurons of the olfactory bulb, magnocellular neurosecretory system, posterolateral hypothalamus, locus coeruleus, raphe nucleus, solitary nucleus, medial septum and diagonal band, olfactory tuberculus, and piriform/olfactory cortex. This expression pattern is similar to that observed for the polysialylated form of the neuronal cell adhesion molecule (PSA-NCAM) and the microtubule-associated proteins doublecortin and collapsin response mediating protein (CRMP-4/TUC-4/Ulip-1), which are also highly expressed during early development. The retention of a juvenile phenotype in some neurons might be associated with a functionally significant neuronal plasticity.
Pubmed ID: 20503426 RIS Download
Mesh terms: Adult Stem Cells | Aging | Animals | Blotting, Western | Brain | Female | Fluorescent Antibody Technique | Immunohistochemistry | Male | Neurons | Photomicrography | Protein Isoforms | Rats | Rats, Wistar | tau Proteins
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