Tau proteins are microtubule-associated protein (MAPs) which are abundant in neurons of the central nervous system, but are also expressed at very low levels in CNS astrocytes and oligodendrocytes and elsewhere. One of tau's main functions is to modulate the stability of axonal microtubules. Tau is active primarily in the distal portions of axons providing microtubule stabilization as well as flexibility. Pathologies and dementias of the nervous system such as Alzheimer's disease feature tau proteins that have become defective and no longer stabilize microtubules properly. As a result, tau forms aggregates with specific structural properties referred to as Paired Helical Filaments (PHFs) that are a characteristic of many different types of dementias, known as tauopathies.
Tau has two primary ways of controlling microtubule stability: isoforms and phosphorylation. Six tau isoforms exist in human brain tissue, and they are distinguished by the number of binding domains. Three isoforms have three binding domains and the remaining three have four binding domains. The binding domains are located in the carboxy-terminus of the protein and are positively-charged (for binding to the negatively-charged microtubule). Tau isoforms with four binding domains are better at stabilizing microtubules than those with three binding domains.
Thus, in the human brain, the tau proteins constitute a family of six isoforms with the range from 352-441 amino acids. They also differ in either zero, one or two inserts of 29 amino acids at the N-terminal part (exon 2 and 3), and three or four repeat-binding regions at the C-terminus. So, the longest isoform in the CNS has four repeats (R1, R2, R3 and R4) and two inserts (441 amino acids total), while the shortest isoform has three repeats (R1, R3 and R4) and no insert (352 amino acids total). Tau is also a phosphoprotein with 79 potential Serine (Ser) and Threonine (Thr) phosphorylation sites on the longest tau isoform. Phosphorylation has been reported on approximately 30 of these sites in normal tau proteins. Mechanisms that drive tau lesion formation in the highly prevalent sporadic form of AD are not fully understood, but appear to involve abnormal post-translational modifications (PTMs) that influence tau function, stability, and aggregation propensity.
We accept Visa and MasterCard in our online store.
We can get your purchases to you wherever you are.
As an Axol customer you have access to our support team and product specialists.