Soluble conformers of Aβ and tau alter selective proteins governing axonal transport

Mathew A. Sherman, Michael LaCroix, Fatou Amar, Megan E. Larson, Colleen Forster, Adriano Aguzzi, David A. Bennett, Martin Ramsden, Sylvain E. Lesné

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Despite the demonstration that amyloid-β (Aβ) can trigger increased tau phosphorylation and neurofibrillary tangle (NFT) formation in vivo, the molecular link associating Aβ and tau pathologies remains ill defined. Here, we observed that exposure of cultured primary neurons to Aβ trimers isolated from brain tissue of subjects with Alzheimer’s disease led to a specific conformational change of tau detected by the antibody Alz50. A similar association was supported by postmortem human brain analyses. To study the role of Aβ trimers in vivo, we created a novel bigenic Tg-Aβ+Tau mouse line by crossing Tg2576 (Tg-Aβ) and rTg4510 (Tg-Tau) mice. Before neurodegeneration and amyloidosis, apparent Aβ trimers were increased by ~2-fold in 3-month-old Tg-Aβ and Tg-Aβ+Tau mice compared with younger mice, whereas soluble monomeric Aβ levels were unchanged. Under these conditions, the expression of soluble Alz50-tau conformers rose by ~2.2-fold in the forebrains of Tg-Aβ+Tau mice compared with nontransgenic littermates. In parallel, APP accumulated intracellularly, suggestive of a putative dysfunction of anterograde axonal transport. We found that the protein abundance of the kinesin-1 light chain (KLC1) was reduced selectively in vivo and in vitro when soluble Aβ trimers/Alz50-tau were present. Importantly, the reduction in KLC1 was prevented by the intraneuronal delivery of Alz50 antibodies. Collectively, our findings reveal that specific soluble conformers of Aβ and tau cooperatively disrupt axonal transport independently from plaques and tangles. Finally, these results suggest that not all endogenous Aβ oligomers trigger the same deleterious changes and that the role of each assembly should be considered separately.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9647-9658
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number37
StatePublished - Sep 14 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (Grants R00AG031293 to S.E.L. and R01NS33249 to Karen H. Ashe and Grants P30AG10161 and RF1AG15819 to D.A.B.) and the University of Minnesota Foundation (start-up funds to S.E.L.). We thank Karen Ashe for Tg2576 and rTg4510 mice and L. Kotilinek, L. Kemper, J. Starks, and J. Paulson for technical help.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 the authors.


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyloid-beta
  • Axonal transport
  • Brain
  • Oligomer
  • Tau


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