Increase in tau tyrosine phosphorylation correlates with the formation of tau aggregates

Irving E. Vega, Li Cui, Josh A. Propst, Michael L. Hutton, Gloria Lee, Shu Hui Yen

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63 Scopus citations


Tauopathies are neurodegenerative disorders characterized by aberrant intracellular aggregation of hyperphosphorylated tau. It has been shown that aggregated tau is phosphorylated at serine, threonine, and tyrosine residues. However, the occurrence of tyrosine phosphorylation on tau proteins at different states of tau aggregation has not been shown. In this report, we utilized the tauopathy mouse model JNPL3 that expresses human 0N4R tau isoform bearing the missense P301L mutation to study the occurrence of tau tyrosine phosphorylation in the course of the development of tau aggregation. These mice develop behavioral and motor deficits and form sarkosyl-insoluble hyperphosphorylated tau in an age-dependent manner. Mass spectrometry analyses of immunopurified brain tau proteins from JNPL3 and Alzheimer's disease affected individual uncovered novel tau tyrosine-phosphorylated sites. Further studies demonstrated that the abundance of tyrosine-phosphorylated tau increases in an age-dependent manner in JNPL3 mice. Tyrosine-phosphorylated tau was detected in both soluble and sarkosyl-insoluble preparations derived from brain and spinal cord, and localized in neurons containing aggregated tau. The phosphorylation of tyrosine residues in tau appeared to occur along with that of serine and threonine residues and was not detectable in non-transgenic littermates and transgenic mice expressing 0N4R wild-type human tau. The results suggest that tyrosine phosphorylation is as important as phosphorylation of other residues in tauopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-144
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Brain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 18 2005


  • Tau
  • Tauopathy
  • Transgenic mice
  • Tyrosine phosphorylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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