Intracellular neurofibrillary tangles (NFT) composed by tau and extracellular amyloid beta (Aβ) plaques accumulate in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and contribute to neuronal dysfunction. Mitochondrial dysfunction and neurodegeneration are increasingly considered two faces of the same coin and an early pathological event in AD. Compelling evidence indicates that tau and mitochondria are closely linked and suggests that tau-dependent modulation of mitochondrial functions might be a trigger for the neurodegeneration process; however, whether this occurs either directly or indirectly is not clear. Furthermore, whether tau influences cellular Ca2+ handling and ER-mitochondria cross-talk is yet to be explored. Here, by focusing on wt tau, either full-length (2N4R) or the caspase 3-cleaved form truncated at the C-terminus (2N4RΔC20), we examined the above-mentioned aspects. Using new genetically encoded split-GFP-based tools and organelle-targeted aequorin probes, we assessed: i) tau distribution within the mitochondrial sub-compartments; ii) the effect of tau on the short- (8-10 nm) and the long- (40-50 nm) range ER-mitochondria interactions; and iii) the effect of tau on cytosolic, ER and mitochondrial Ca2+ homeostasis. Our results indicate that a fraction of tau is found at the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM) and within the inner mitochondrial space (IMS), suggesting a potential tau-dependent regulation of mitochondrial functions. The ER Ca2+ content and the short-range ER-mitochondria interactions were selectively affected by the expression of the caspase 3-cleaved 2N4RΔC20 tau, indicating that Ca2+ mis-handling and defects in the ER-mitochondria communications might be an important pathological event in tau-related dysfunction and thereby contributing to neurodegeneration. Finally, our data provide new insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying tauopathies.

Tau localises within mitochondrial sub-compartments and its caspase cleavage affects ER-mitochondria interactions and cellular Ca2+ handling

Cieri, Domenico;Vicario, Mattia;Vallese, Francesca;D'Orsi, Beatrice;Berto, Paola;Grinzato, Alessandro;Catoni, Cristina;De Stefani, Diego;Rizzuto, Rosario;Brini, Marisa;Calì, Tito
2018

Abstract

Intracellular neurofibrillary tangles (NFT) composed by tau and extracellular amyloid beta (Aβ) plaques accumulate in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and contribute to neuronal dysfunction. Mitochondrial dysfunction and neurodegeneration are increasingly considered two faces of the same coin and an early pathological event in AD. Compelling evidence indicates that tau and mitochondria are closely linked and suggests that tau-dependent modulation of mitochondrial functions might be a trigger for the neurodegeneration process; however, whether this occurs either directly or indirectly is not clear. Furthermore, whether tau influences cellular Ca2+ handling and ER-mitochondria cross-talk is yet to be explored. Here, by focusing on wt tau, either full-length (2N4R) or the caspase 3-cleaved form truncated at the C-terminus (2N4RΔC20), we examined the above-mentioned aspects. Using new genetically encoded split-GFP-based tools and organelle-targeted aequorin probes, we assessed: i) tau distribution within the mitochondrial sub-compartments; ii) the effect of tau on the short- (8-10 nm) and the long- (40-50 nm) range ER-mitochondria interactions; and iii) the effect of tau on cytosolic, ER and mitochondrial Ca2+ homeostasis. Our results indicate that a fraction of tau is found at the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM) and within the inner mitochondrial space (IMS), suggesting a potential tau-dependent regulation of mitochondrial functions. The ER Ca2+ content and the short-range ER-mitochondria interactions were selectively affected by the expression of the caspase 3-cleaved 2N4RΔC20 tau, indicating that Ca2+ mis-handling and defects in the ER-mitochondria communications might be an important pathological event in tau-related dysfunction and thereby contributing to neurodegeneration. Finally, our data provide new insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying tauopathies.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3276649
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