, Volume 148, Issue 1, pp 79-88

The role of tau phosphorylation in transfected COS-1 cells

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Tau cDNAs from each of the six human isoforms were transfected into COS- 1 cells and, in every case, more than one peptide was observed. The diversity of expressed isoforms was due to different levels of tau phosphorylation. Tau phosphorylation results in a decrease of the protein electrophoretic mobility. The major contribution to this mobility shift is due to the phosphorylation at the at the C-terminus of the molecule, as inferred from the expression of tau fragments. Phosphorylation takes place in some of the sites modified in neural cells and in the basis of AD patients. Copolymerization studies indicate that the level of phosphorylation, as well as the localization of the modified residues, may affect the binding of the protein to microtubules. These results indicate that phosphorylation regulates tau function inside the cell.