Tau and MAPT genetics in tauopathies and synucleinopathies

Etienne Leveille, Owen A. Ross, Ziv Gan-Or

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


MAPT encodes the microtubule-associated protein tau, which is the main component of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) and found in other protein aggregates. These aggregates are among the pathological hallmarks of primary tauopathies such as frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Abnormal tau can also be observed in secondary tauopathies such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) and synucleinopathies such as Parkinson's disease (PD). On top of pathological findings, genetic data also links MAPT to these disorders. MAPT variations are a cause or risk factors for many tauopathies and synucleinopathies and are associated with certain clinical and pathological features in affected individuals. In addition to clinical, pathological, and genetic overlap, evidence also suggests that tau and alpha-synuclein may interact on the molecular level, and thus might collaborate in the neurodegenerative process. Understanding the role of MAPT variations in tauopathies and synucleinopathies is therefore essential to elucidate the role of tau in the pathogenesis and phenotype of those disorders, and ultimately to develop targeted therapies. In this review, we describe the role of MAPT genetic variations in tauopathies and synucleinopathies, several genotype-phenotype and pathological features, and discuss their implications for the classification and treatment of those disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-154
Number of pages13
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Genetic variation
  • MAPT
  • Neurodegenerative disorders
  • Synucleinopathies
  • Tauopathies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Neurology


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