New Age of Neuroproteomics in Alzheimer’s Disease Research
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- Kovacech, B., Zilka, N. & Novak, M. Cell Mol Neurobiol (2009) 29: 799. doi:10.1007/s10571-009-9358-6
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Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the leading cause of dementia, a condition that gradually destroys brain cells and leads to progressive decline in mental functions. The disease is characterized by accumulation of misfolded neuronal proteins, amyloid and tau, into insoluble aggregates known as extracellular senile plaques and intracellular neurofibrillary tangles, respectively. However, only tau pathology appears to correlate with the progression of the disease and it is believed to play a central role in the progression of neurodegeneration. In AD, tau protein undergoes various types of posttranslational modifications, most notably hyperphosphorylation and truncation. Using four proteomics approaches we aimed to uncover the key steps leading to neurofibrillary degeneration and thus to identify therapeutic targets for AD. Functional neuroproteomics was employed to generate the first transgenic rat model of AD by expressing a truncated misordered form of tau, “Alzheimer’s tau”. The rat model showed that Alzheimer’s tau toxic gain of function is responsible for the induction of abnormal tau cascade and is the driving force in the development of neurofibrillary degeneration. Structural neuroproteomics allowed us to determine partial 3D structure of the Alzheimer’s filament core at a resolution of 1.6 Å. Signaling neuroproteomics data lead to the identification and characterization of relevant phosphosites (the tau phosphosignalome) contributing to neurodegeneration. Interaction neuroproteomics revealed links to a new group of proteins interacting with Alzheimer’s tau (tau interactome) under normal and pathological conditions, which would provide novel drug targets and novel biomarkers for treatment of AD and other tauopathies.