Targeting Tau Mitigates Mitochondrial Fragmentation and Oxidative Stress in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

- Posted in Targeting Tau Mitigates Mitochondrial Fragmentation and Oxidative Stress in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. by English by

Tau protein belongs to an heterogeneous group of proteins that are associated with neurodegenerative diseases. While scientists have hoped that each protein would be associated with only one disease, actually most of those diseases cases display several harmful proteins aggregates at the same time.

These aggregates are misfolded, mislocated often partial proteins in the cytosol of neurons, including in mitochondria. Most experimental therapies that target those proteins have shown excellent pre-clinical results.

Previous studies have demonstrated that mitochondrial dysfunction is a key pathogenetic event in ALS. Interestingly, studies in Alzheimer's disease (AD) post-mortem brain and animal models link alterations in mitochondrial function to interactions between hyperphosphorylated tau and dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1), the GTPase involved in mitochondrial fission.

Recent evidence suggest that tau may be involved in ALS pathogenesis, therefore, we sought to determine whether hyperphosphorylated tau may lead to mitochondrial fragmentation and dysfunction in ALS and whether reducing tau may provide a novel therapeutic approach.

The findings of the authors demonstrated that pTau-S396 is mis-localized to synapses in post-mortem motor cortex (mCTX) across ALS subtypes. Additionally, the treatment with ALS synaptoneurosomes (SNs), enriched in pTau-S396, increased oxidative stress, induced mitochondrial fragmentation, and altered mitochondrial connectivity without affecting cell survival in vitro.

Furthermore, pTau-S396 interacted with DRP1, and similar to pTau-S396, DRP1 accumulated in SNs across ALS subtypes, suggesting increases in mitochondrial fragmentation in ALS.

Reducing tau levels with QC-01-175, a selective tau degrader, prevented ALS SNs-induced mitochondrial fragmentation and oxidative stress in vitro. QC-01-175 is sometimes used in cerebral malaria, a severe complication of malaria.

Collectively, their findings suggest that increases in pTau-S396 may lead to mitochondrial fragmentation and oxidative stress in ALS and decreasing tau may provide a novel strategy to mitigate mitochondrial dysfunction in ALS.

pTau-S396 mis-localizes to synapses in ALS. ALS synaptoneurosomes (SNs), enriched in pTau-S396, increase oxidative stress and induce mitochondrial fragmentation in vitro. pTau-S396 interacts with the pro-fission GTPase DRP1 in ALS.

Reducing tau with a selective degrader, QC-01-175, mitigates ALS SNs-induced mitochondrial fragmentation and increases in oxidative stress in vitro.

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