NH2-truncated human tau induces deregulated mitophagy in neurons by aberrant recruitment of Parkin and UCHL-1: Implications in Alzheimer's disease

V. Corsetti, F. Florenzano, A. Atlante, A. Bobba, M. T. Ciotti, F. Natale, F. Della Valle, A. Borreca, A. Manca, G. Meli, C. Ferraina, M. Feligioni, S. D'Aguanno, R. Bussani, M. Ammassari-Teule, V. Nicolin, P. Calissano, G. Amadoro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Disarrangement in functions and quality control of mitochondria at synapses are early events in Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathobiology.We reported that a 20-22 kDaNH2-tau fragmentmapping between 26 and 230amino acids of the longest human tau isoform (aka NH2htau): (i) is detectable in cellular and animal AD models, as well in synaptic mitochondria and cerebrospinal fluids (CSF) fromhuman AD subjects; (ii) is neurotoxic in primary hippocampal neurons; (iii) compromises the mitochondrial biology both directly, by inhibiting the ANT-1-dependent ADP/ATP exchange, and indirectly, by impairing their selective autophagic clearance (mitophagy). Here, we show that the extensive Parkin-dependent turnover of mitochondria occurring in NH2htau-expressing post-mitotic neurons plays a pro-death role and that UCHL-1, the cytosolic Ubiquitin-C-terminal hydrolase L1 which directs the physiological remodeling of synapses by controlling ubiquitin homeostasis, critically contributes to mitochondrial and synaptic failure in this in vitro AD model. Pharmacological or genetic suppression of improper mitophagy, either by inhibition of mitochondrial targeting to autophagosomes or by shRNA-mediated silencing of Parkin or UCHL-1 gene expression, restores synaptic and mitochondrial content providing partial but significant protection against theNH2htau-induced neuronal death. Moreover, inmitochondria fromhuman AD synapses, the endogenous NH2htau is stably associated with Parkin and with UCHL-1. Taken together, our studies show a causative link between the excessive mitochondrial turnover and the NH2htau-induced in vitro neuronal death, suggesting that pathogenetic tau truncationmay contribute to synaptic deterioration in ADby aberrant recruitment of Parkin and UCHL-1 tomitochondriamaking themmore prone to detrimental autophagic clearance.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberddv059
Pages (from-to)3058-3081
Number of pages24
JournalHuman Molecular Genetics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Dec 15 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Molecular Biology


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