Tyrosine phosphorylation of tau accompanies disease progression in transgenic mouse models of tauopathy

K. Bhaskar, G. A. Hobbs, S. H. Yen, G. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Aim: Tau protein is a prominent component of paired helical filaments in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other tauopathies. While the abnormal phosphorylation of tau on serine and threonine has been well established in the disease process, its phosphorylation on tyrosine has only recently been described. We previously showed that the Src family non-receptor tyrosine kinases (SFKs) Fyn and Src phosphorylate tau on Tyr18 and that phospho-Tyr18-tau was present in AD brain. In this study, we have investigated the appearance of phospho-Tyr18-tau, activated SFK and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) during disease progression in a mouse model of human tauopathy. Methods: We have used JNPL3, which expresses human tau with P301L mutation, and antibodies specific for phospho-Tyr18-tau (9G3), ser/thr phosphorylated tau (AT8), activated SFK and PCNA. Antibody staining was viewed by either epifluorescence or confocal microscopy. Results: Phospho-Tyr18-tau appeared concurrently with AT8-reactive tau as early as 4 months in JNPL3. Some 9G3-positive cells also contained activated SFKs and PCNA. We also investigated the triple transgenic mouse model of AD and found that unlike the JNPL3 model, the appearance of 9G3 reactivity did not coincide with AT8 in the hippocampus, suggesting that the presence of APP/presenilin influences tau phosphorylation. Also, Thioflavin S-positive plaques were 9G3-negative, suggesting that phospho-Tyr18-tau is absent from the dystrophic neurites of the mouse triple transgenic brain. Conclusions: Our results provide evidence for the association of tyrosine-phosphorylated tau with mechanisms of neuropathogenesis and indicate that SFK activation and cell cycle activation are also involved in JNPL3.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)462-477
Number of pages16
JournalNeuropathology and Applied Neurobiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • AT8
  • Src family tyrosine kinases
  • proliferating cell nuclear antigen
  • tau hyperphosphorylation
  • tauopathy mouse model
  • tyrosine-phosphorylated tau

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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