Tau deposition drives neuropathological, inflammatory and behavioral abnormalities independently of neuronal loss in a novel mouse model

Casey Cook, Silvia S. Kang, Yari Carlomagno, Wen Lang Lin, Mei Yue, Aishe Kurti, Mitsuru Shinohara, Karen Jansen-West, Emilie Perkerson, Monica Castanedes-Casey, Linda Rousseau, Virginia Phillips, Guojun Bu, Dennis W. Dickson, Leonard Petrucelli, John D. Fryer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Aberrant tau protein accumulation drives neurofibrillary tangle (NFT) formation in several neurodegenerative diseases. Currently, efforts to elucidate pathogenic mechanisms and assess the efficacy of therapeutic targets are limited by constraints of existing models of tauopathy. In order to generate amore versatile mousemodel of tauopathy, somatic brain transgenesiswas utilized to deliver adeno-associated virus serotype 1 (AAV1) encoding human mutant P301L-tau comparedwith GFP control. At 6months of age, we observed widespread human tau expression with concomitant accumulation of hyperphosphorylated and abnormally folded proteinase K resistant tau. However, no overt neuronal loss was observed, though significant abnormalities were noted in the postsynaptic scaffolding protein PSD95. Neurofibrillary pathologywas also detected with Gallyas silver stain and Thioflavin-S, and electron microscopy revealed the deposition of closely packed filaments. In addition to classic markers of tauopathy, significant neuroinflammation and extensive gliosis were detected in AAV1-TauP301L mice. This model also recapitulates the behavioral phenotype characteristic ofmousemodels of tauopathy, including abnormalities in exploration, anxiety, and learning andmemory. These findings indicate that biochemical and neuropathological hallmarks of tauopathies are accurately conserved and are independent of cell death in this novel AAV-based model of tauopathy, which offers exceptional versatility and speed in comparison with existing transgenic models. Therefore, we anticipate this approach will facilitate the identification and validation of genetic modifiers of disease, as well as accelerate preclinical assessment of potential therapeutic targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6198-6212
Number of pages15
JournalHuman molecular genetics
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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