Phosphorylation of tau and alpha-synuclein in synaptic-enriched fractions of the frontal cortex in Alzheimer's disease, and in Parkinson's disease and related alpha-synucleinopathies.Neuroscience. 2008 Apr 09; 152(4):913-23.N
Phosphorylation of tau and phosphorylation of alpha-synuclein are crucial abnormalities in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and alpha-synucleinopathies (Parkinson's disease: PD, and dementia with Lewy bodies: DLB), respectively. The presence and distribution of phospho-tau were examined by sub-fractionation, gel electrophoresis and Western blotting in the frontal cortex of cases with AD at different stages of disease progression, PD, DLB pure form and common form, and in age-matched controls. Phospho-tauSer396 has been found in synaptic-enriched fractions in AD frontal cortex at entorhinal/transentorhinal, limbic and neocortical stages, thus indicating early tau phosphorylation at the synapses in AD before the occurrence of neurofibrillary tangles in the frontal cortex. Phospho-tauSer396 is also found in synaptic-enriched fractions in the frontal cortex in PD and DLB pure and common forms, thus indicating increased tau phosphorylation at the synapses in these alpha-synucleinopathies. Densitometric studies show between 20% and 40% phospho-tauSer396, in relation with tau-13, in synaptic-enriched fractions of the frontal cortex in AD stages I-III, and in PD and DLB. The percentage reaches about 95% in AD stage V and DLB common form. Yet tau phosphorylation characteristic of neurofibrillary tangles, as revealed with the AT8 antibody, is found in the synaptic fractions of the frontal cortex only at advanced stages of AD. Increased phosphorylated alpha-synucleinSer129 levels are observed in the synaptic-enriched fractions of the frontal cortex in PD and DLB pure and common forms, and in advanced stages of AD. Since tau-hyperphosphorylation has implications in microtubule assembly, and phosphorylation of alpha-synuclein at Ser129 favors alpha-synuclein aggregation, it can be suggested that synapses are targets of abnormal tau and alpha-synuclein phosphorylation in both groups of diseases. Tau phosphorylation at Ser396 has also been found in synaptic-enriched fractions in 12-month-old transgenic mice bearing the A53T alpha-synuclein mutation.